A vacant property once known as the oldest business in Lethbridge was destroyed by fire Friday in the southern Alberta city.
At approximately 2:15 a.m., Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services crews responded from four stations with 28 members to the structure fire in the 200 block of 5 Street South.
Upon arrival, the vacant Lethbridge Hotel was showing visible flames from the upper levels and crews quickly worked to extinguish the blaze.
The building sustained extensive damage and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
According to an Alberta government historical walking tour from 2000 posted to the province’s website, the Lethbridge House Hotel was built in 1885 by William Henderson, a prominent contractor of the day.
It held the city’s first Methodist church service and town council meeting. In 1902-03, the province said a larger hotel was built on the same site, where it remained until Friday’s fire.
The City of Lethbridge said due to the instability of the building, the Lethbridge Hotel would be demolished Friday evening.
Fire and Emergency Services remained on scene to monitor and extinguish hot spots as needed.
The site will be fenced off and debris will be hauled away.