A rapidly spreading fire gutted the ‘Beach Wadiya’ restaurant in Wellawatte in the early hours of Friday morning.

The over 40-year-old landmark restaurant which has hosted the likes of Princess Anne and Richard Branson, was earlier damaged and rebuilt from scratch in the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami.

The cause of Friday’s fire is unknown, and Police Scene of Crime squad were investigating the various possibilities while the Govt. Analyst was expected to conduct his own probe into exactly what triggered the fire that caused an estimated hundreds of thousands of rupees worth of damage, with the reception and bar area of the restaurant reduced to cinders. Onlookers said an electrical short circuit was a possibility though the police ruled out nothing.

A valuable collection of guest books which had testimonials from important guests such as the recently visiting U.S. Under Secretary of State Nisha Bishwal, and other notable sportsmen, actors, etc, of global renown, was consumed in the fire.