A fire broke out in downtown Red Deer next to La Casa Pergola in the early morning hours Sunday. (Contributed Photo)

A fire broke out in downtown Red Deer next to La Casa Pergola in the early morning hours Sunday. (Contributed Photo)

Fire inspectors are seeking cause of downtown blaze

Fire inspectors are still sorting through the debris of a Red Deer building that was partially destroyed by fire last weekend.

They are hoping to discover the cause of the blaze, as well as get a damage estimate by later this week, said Deputy Fire Chief Chris Kearns, of Red Deer Emergency Services.

A member of the Red Deer RCMP reported the fire, which broke out at 4909-48th St., at about 5:30 a.m. on Sunday.

La Casa Pergola Restaurant is in what appears to be the less damaged eastern section of the Empire Building, which also contained a law office and unoccupied retail and office space.

But Kearns said there’s extensive fire and water damage to the entire structure.

Although the restaurant and several retail bays appear to be separate locations from the street, they are actually all located within the one building.

It took close to 30 firefighters with two ladder trucks, and three fire engines to put out the blaze by about 10 a.m. Sunday.

The biggest challenge for firefighting effort was dealing with the tarred roof, which was several layers thick. Kearns said the roof fire was “stubborn” and was hardest to extinguish.

Kearns doesn’t know the age of the building.

Kurt Montgomery, the owner of La Casa Pergola, wrote on Facebook that the structure appears to be a total loss. He’s hoping other local eateries will hire his loyal, hard-working staff as he isn’t sure what the future holds for his restaurant.

Ironically, Montgomery added that last month had been the best for the restaurant since the start of the pandemic.

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