ITUNA — A small Saskatchewan town is mourning the loss of a historic bar and hotel.
A blaze engulfed the Ituna Hotel on Thursday night, drawing a response from volunteer firefighters around 9 p.m. as they attempted to control the flames.
Murray Anderson, who manages the bar and hotel, said he believes the cause was electrical. He said a staff member reported the fire coming from the floor between two of the building’s rooms.
“It burnt right down to the ground,” he said. “There’s nothing left.”
The Ituna and Area Volunteer Fire Department said few details were available. A spokesperson said the blaze is under investigation, but offered no further information.
Ituna has about 700 residents and is located about 290 kilometres southeast of Saskatoon.
Prayers for the first responders putting their safety on the line tonight in our little town. 💕💕💕 pic.twitter.com/q8MMsHZR3L— Adrienne Ivey (@adrienneivey) December 11, 2020
Anderson thanked the establishment’s customers for their support, saying the fire was a “terrible loss for the town.” Discussions over the building’s insurance are set begin Friday afternoon, he said.
Part of the building was constructed in 1910, making it one of the oldest structures in the town, Anderson noted. The business employed about three people and served as a key part of community life.
Social media users shared their sympathies and support online. Some remembered the loss of hubs like the bar in their own communities, while others offered best wishes for the volunteers who fought the blaze.
They won’t be alone facing the loss. Anderson said he most fondly remembers creating promotions for residents, drawing them into the community hub for special offers to share with their neighbours.
“That was probably my favourite part.”