Police investigate suspicious boat fire outside Ebenezer Grill

It’s possible a fire that burned a boat outside a popular Rock Hill eatery Tuesday morning was set on purpose, police say.

Officers at about 5 a.m. went to the Ebenezer Grill restaurant on Ebenezer Road after receiving calls about a boat that had been burned, according to a Rock Hill police report. By the time police arrived, Rock Hill firefighters had already extinguished the flames and a fire investigator was checking for any accelerants that might have been left on the boat.

Police said the fire appeared suspicious.

A woman, 37, told officers that she arrived at the restaurant at about 4 a.m. when she saw the boat completely engulfed in fire, the report states. She called the fire department.

Owner Loyd Ardrey said the grill, a famous landmark in Rock Hill featured in travel books and subject of worldwide news after the theft of its giant 12-foot weenie sign in 2005, will march on unfazed by flames in the parking lot when the boat was torched.

The theft of the giant hot dog sign, described by a police detective as "It's tough to hide a 12-foot weenie," was never solved. Ardrey said he is far more concerned that no one was hurt and that the business remains unaffected.

"I might have a fire sale - two for one hot dogs," Ardrey said. "And a contest where the winner gets a boat. Hope I win. I need a new one."

Fire officials confirmed they consider the fire suspicious and are investigating, said Rock Hill Fire Battalion Chief Rusty Myers. By Wednesday evening, no arrests had been made.