Owners Derek and Rona Yasinski, whose house is attached to the building, were home at the time and managed to escape safely, along with their cat.
“The phone rang and it was the alarm company and they said there’s a sensor going off,” Derek said. “Then I saw smoke coming into my residence and it was just fast. My wife ran and got her purse and a couple of things quick.”
“It was hot, intense and very scary,” resident Christina Chick said. “There’s no other place to be social aside from the community hall and that’s only when there’s events. So this is a big loss.”
The establishment was a major landmark and local gathering spot. It was home to the town’s only hotel and bar and one of the only cafes.
“I’ve shed a couple tears the last six hours thinking about it,” Mayor Murray Clarke said. “I don’t think anybody’s come to grips with it yet. I think we’re all struggling to understand the significance of the loss.”
Firefighters arrived on scene around 6:45 p.m., fighting the fire alongside crews from Neudorf.
Working through the evening, crews were still on scene in the morning putting out hotspots.
Because the building was more than 50 years old, officials said flammable material caused the fire to spread quickly.
The community is now rallying together to help the Yasinski’s pick up the pieces.
“These are our friends and our neighbours that are out here working hard,” Derek said. “The people have been very good to us.”
While the cause of the fire is under investigation, officials believe it started in the bar.
Even though the future of the establishment is uncertain, many hope the beloved establishment is brought back to life.
“I hope to see it rebuilt,” Chick said. “It was a great business and a fun place to be.”