July 4, 2018 11:31 pm

Edmonton business in limbo 5 weeks after ‘heart-wrenching’ Whyte Avenue fire

WATCH ABOVE: An Edmonton business owner is in limbo after fire tore through a Whyte Avenue building more than a month ago. Most of the damage was confined to a nightclub but the fire forced the closure of two other businesses. Kim Smith reports.

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More than a month after a fire tore through a Whyte Avenue building, the owner of one of the shuttered businesses is still in limbo.

On May 28, Edmonton firefighters were called to a fire on Whyte Avenue at 105 Street shortly after 5 a.m. At around 8 a.m., the Edmonton Police Service Bomb Unit was called to the area for reports of apparent Molotov cocktails. Police quickly began investigating the fire as arson.

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READ MORE: Fire at Whyte Avenue commercial building intentionally set: police

“Every day, it doesn’t feel right not having it open,” Dale Weran, the owner of the music venue The Forge said on Wednesday.

The Forge on Whyte, Queen Donair and Club 82 all occupy spaces in the building. Most of the damage was confined to Club 82.

Immediately following the fire, Weran said he was allowed inside to rescue some of his equipment, but he hasn’t been allowed inside since. Weran said The Forge sustained smoke damage.

“The thing you worked so hard to build is pretty much gone,” Weran said. “It’s kind of heart-wrenching. A kick in the gut.”

The Forge opened in late 2016 as an outlet for local bands.

“We started with virtually nothing coming in here. The landlord gave us a good opportunity and we took it and we’re been growing from there,” Weran said.

“Hopefully we can make it better than it was.”

Weran said he hasn’t heard when or if he’ll be permitted to reopen. In the meantime, he’s been cleaning and storing his music equipment in his garage.

“Every time you open the garage door, it smells of smoke,” he said.

READ MORE: Explosive duplex fire consumes 3 homes in southeast Edmonton

On Wednesday, Edmonton police said the arson is still under investigation.

Weran said he hopes to reopen in the same building, but he’s keeping his options open.

“We’re also looking at potential new spaces, just in case. I don’t want to sit on this and three or four months down the road find out now you can’t reopen.”

Photo taken inside The Forge following the fire on May 28.

Dale Weran

Photo taken inside The Forge following the fire on May 28.

Dale Weran

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