Fire at downtown fast food restaurant not considered suspicious: PAPS

Prince Albert firefighters spray water from a ladder truck on a fire at the downtown A&W at around 5:45 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 17. -- Daily Herald Staff photo.

The Prince Albert Police Service (PAPS) says a structure fire that occurred at a fast food restaurant in Prince Albert’s downtown is not considered suspicious.

Emergency services were called to the downtown A&W at around 5:10 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 17 after it caught fire. There is “considerable damage”, PAPS reported in a press release, but members of the Prince Albert Fire Department have the blaze under control. There were no injuries reported.

The cause of the fire cannot be determined until it is extinguished, the Prince Albert Fire Department said in an update posted online at 10:08 a.m. Crews will remain on the scene for most of the day.

“In order for our inspectors to get in there, we’ve got to have the building cool down,” Prince Albert Fire Chief Kris Olsen said in an interview late Wednesday morning. “We do want to get in there as soon as possible before things freeze up, but I can’t give a specific time…. We always try to get in, especially in this inclement weather, as soon as possible.”

Prince Albert firefighters were called to the scene following reports of a fire in the kitchen. However, Olsen said they cannot say for sure that’s where the fire started.

After arriving on scene, fire crews entered the building and found a heavy fire in the kitchen area that had already extended into the attic. The fire quickly spread to the roof, causing firefighters to exit the building.

The fire is under control and not endangering any properties, the fire department reported, but continues to burn.

After discovering the fire had spread to the attic, Olsen said the department called in an additional truck to provide more support.

Jeanette Vyselaar, an area manager with Western Restaurant Franchises Inc., which operates the downtown A&W franchise, said they’re focused on caring for their staff.

“We’re just trying to get everything sorted,” she said. “It’s devastating for us.”

Both police and fire services have asked residents to avoid the areas of 12th Street and First Avenue West as water runoff has made the roads extremely icy.