The future of a popular night spot is in doubt after a fire tore through the 84 year old Veteran Hotel on Saturday, December 15.
Bar staff were alerted to the fire at 12:15 a.m. when the building’s fire alarm activated. When bar manager Vicki Spencer went upstairs to investigate she was met with a hallway full of smoke. Spencer and another staff member attempted to extinguish the fire in room 6, but by the time they returned with buckets and a fire extinguisher the fire was out of control.
According to Veteran Fire Chief Darryl Tkach, fire crews arrived to find large amounts of smoke exiting second story windows of the hotel. Firefighters from Coronation and Consort were dispatched to assist in firefighting efforts. Fire crews were on scene until 6:30 a.m. when daylight revealed the extent of the damage.
“The entire upstairs is done,” Spencer told The Review. “There’s holes in the floor, the roof is gone — it’s pretty bad.”
The bar’s kitchen sustained heavy damage, as did the men’s room and areas of the ceiling below the fire. Spencer said that the damage to the two-storey section of the building was so severe that may need to be demolished.
“We’re not entirely sure,” she said. “We’re still waiting to see what the insurance adjustor has to say.”
Spencer added that she would like to see the hotel rebuilt. She credits Veteran Fire for their prompt response and their efforts to save the hotel. There were eight patrons in the bar at the time of the fire, all escaped without injury.
As of press time the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
The Veteran fire is the second hotel blaze to occur in as many weeks. The Commercial Hotel in Alliance was destroyed by a fire on Sunday, December 9. The cause of that fire is still under investigation.
(photo credit Vicki Spencer)