Fire destroys popular restaurant in Kitsilano, Vancouver
Smoke started billowing out of the Topanga Cafe on 4th Avenue around 5 a.m. PT
A fire that broke out in a row of businesses on Vancouver's West Side on Thursday morning has destroyed a popular Mexican restaurant.
Smoke started billowing out of a block of buildings containing the Topanga Cafe, near the corner of West 4th Avenue and MacDonald Street in Kitsilano, around 5 a.m. PT, according to Devon McGuire, who lives in a neighbouring building.
"We were just sleeping and I woke to the smell of smoke and I heard fire alarms," said McGuire."And so I went out on to our patio and could smell the smoke, so I went back in and said: 'We've got to get out of here.'"
Bronwen Smith, a renter who lives in the building above the Topanga Cafe, says she threw on her shoes and left as soon as the fire alarm went off.
"Everything is gone," Smith said. "It's just you think of everything that you have and it's gone."
The wind has changed directions and smoke which was billowing into the sky now masking several blocks. Police asking people to move out. <a href="https://t.co/vOYYYLwZrH">pic.twitter.com/vOYYYLwZrH</a>—@tinalovgreen
Assistant Deputy Fire Chief Martin Paulson said over 50 firefighters were called out to fight the stubborn blaze to stop it from spreading to neighbouring buildings.
Paulson said this type of dense-built building made fighting it difficult.
"Because of the rapid fire spread, it either started outside or inside, got into the walls, got into the roof — it was very difficult. We couldn't access it to get to the [root] of the fire and this makes it very challenging for our crews," Paulson said.
A surrounding stretch of West 4th Avenue was closed to traffic by police as firefighters remained on the scene Thursday morning. Buses were rerouted to West Broadway.
Many residents of neighbouring buildings were forced out of their homes by the smoke, but there are no reports of any injuries.
The fire that broke out on West 4th was relentless. It took <a href="https://twitter.com/VanFireRescue?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@VanFireRescue</a> more than 5 hours to battle the blaze. Homes were lost. But the kindness of strangers was not. Chris Sulymka, lives in building next to the fire: <a href="https://t.co/mH27if7K0O">pic.twitter.com/mH27if7K0O</a>—@tinalovgreen
The cause of the fire and the extent of the damage has not yet been released and firefighters said they don't yet know exactly where it started.
So sad about Topanga. My mom used to take me there for special lunches almost 30 years ago when when I went to General Gordon.—@miraoreck
Ah, darn. My first enchilada entree at Topanga was in 1980. My last in 2017. Each and every one in between was a treat. My condolences to Andrew and staff with sincere appreciation for all the delicious meals and memories <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OriginalWestside?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#OriginalWestside</a> <a href="https://t.co/HphCQvp7em">https://t.co/HphCQvp7em</a>—@bryanmavrow
Sad to hear this. We moved the legendary Black Swan Records to the corner of 4th/Bayswater in '77 - I was there until '90. <a href="https://twitter.com/coastaljazz?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@coastaljazz</a> started there '85/86. Amazing that Topanga has been there all along. Many chicken enchiladas back in the day. Hope damage isn't devestating. <a href="https://t.co/nsHpVBKaqy">https://t.co/nsHpVBKaqy</a>—@ken_pickering
With files from Tina Lovgreen