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Fire damages historic Strathcona Hotel on Whyte Avenue



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Tape strung in front of the hotel Strathcona in Edmonton on March 30, 2019 Fire investigators at the site after an overnight blaze saw up to 40 firefighters on the scene.

David Bloom / Postmedia

Fire investigators in masks and helmets were in Strathcona Hotel on Saturday morning, looking at the night fire Friday in the attic of religious property.

Large areas of the tile roofs were absent in the upper part of the heritage structure, built in 1891, wood and other debris covered the pavement outside the hotel on 103 Street.

A constant stream of shoppers and passers-by stopped to examine the damage. The morning breeze carried the smell of the burning smell.

"I just hope that they are able to restore it," Brenda said Keown, who lives one block from the hotel. "It is strange that they have maintained the building, given that this is something that old."

The property is vacant it undergoes extensive internal remodeling of Beljan development.

Edmonton-based developer of property, which belongs to the other historic properties Old Strathcona, such as the nearby Crawford Dominion unit and the building of the hotel, not sure about the degree of damage to the hotel, but still "committed to the restoration of this historic milestone Edmonton to the high standards that we set and aim to achieve the level of quality we are known for, "said Ivan Beljan, who bought the property last year and took possession of it in October, in a statement released on Saturday afternoon.

"We will work with all stakeholders to save as many buildings as possible in order to ensure that it remains fitting in one of the most important historical areas of Edmonton," he said.

Rental notice placed on the outer side of the hotel say three floors of retail and office space available and include a link to a non-active site.

Edmonton landmark with & # 39 is the oldest wood frame commercial building on the Avenue White. When it opened in 1891, it was a stop guesthouse, arriving by train through the Calgary and Edmonton Railway, and much of his life working as a hotel and restaurant.

Beloved building protected heritage status by the city and province.

At 12:30 pm on Saturday, Edmonton Fire Rescue Service Representative Kristi Hood said firefighters still declare the fire is extinguished. The fire was first reported at 9:30 pm on Friday, and was controlled at 2 am on Saturday, Blain said.

On Friday night, the flames could be seen from the top of the building and firefighters spray water on the roof of the aircraft engines. Firefighters also evacuated nearby buildings.

Edmonton Fire Rescue Service District Chief Martin Prince said Friday to 40 firefighters worked to control the flames.

"This is a & # 39 is a difficult task," said the Prince. "The biggest problem we have access to the attic, where the fire is."

No one was hurt in the fire, said the Prince.

Police diverted traffic away from the building and closed the Whyte Avenue between 102 and 104 Street on Friday night. Dozens of viewers for the night in the popular entertainment district watched from nearby sidewalks.

"My eighteenth birthday was the tavern," the witness said Seghan McDonald. "It's sad. When I learned that it was being bought and inside, I was excited, because I always thought it was good, the historical part of White's, and I thought it would look better and live in its history, and now it seems, it went. "

Keown heard sirens around 9 pm, and two hours later, walking down the street to see what was happening.

"I never seem to be so many fire engines in my life in one area," she said. "Thus, they were on it, and it's great."

On Saturday morning, Robert Walker was standing across the street watching the fire and researchers wondering how bad the damage was inside the hotel. Structure is important for the character of the Old Strathcona, he said.

"You go over it, you do not really think too much. It's always there. But what would it look like if it was a wasteland? If it had to be demolished? "He said.

Keown said the hotel is "monumental" in the area.

"I want the building could talk. I'm sure there are many beautiful stories in this building, "she said Saturday.

On Friday night, inquisitive Doug Pruden said Friday night he hoped that when the building can not be saved, the community will find a way to restore it to look the same on the outside.

Mayor Don Ayvson repeated these comments on Friday late in the evening due to the fire on Twitter for their work, along with the hashtag «#prayforstrat.» (The hotel is usually referred to as "loose" or «Strat»).

jfrench@postmedia.com

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