Cape Breton Regional Police closed three blocks around New Waterford's busiest street for hours as firefighters battled a fire at JT's Pub and Steakroom on Plummer Avenue.
They were first called to the scene around 2 a.m. Tuesday morning.
"When we arrived it was fully involved," said Fire Chief Lenny Barrington. "There was a few windows that had been blown out, we don't know what caused that."
At 7 a.m., the back of the building had crumbled while the front remained standing. Firefighters continued to pour water on the restaurant to deal with hot spots.
The building was empty when the fire started and no one was hurt.
The flames also damaged two adjacent buildings, one of which also had a number of apartments in it. The fire melted the siding off the building.
About ten people had to leave their apartments. The Red Cross helped them find accomodations. Barrington said he believes the apartment building can be saved.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.