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Gordon Block building in downtown Regina to be demolished following fire

Gordon Block, the century old municipal heritage building in Regina’s downtown will be demolished following a fire over the weekend.

Fire investigators say the walls of the building need to come down before they can safely search for the cause and for any potential victims.

“We can’t get in. It’s unstable. It’s burning inside,” fire marshal Randy Ryba told CTV News.

“It’s structurally unstable as we speak and we’re going to have to bring heavy equipment in to start nibbling away at the top of it to get it to where it’s safe and not collapse on us and finish the extinguishment.”

A demolition company has been contracted by the city to take down the damaged building.

Crews were hard work on Monday, removing lighting on Pat Fiacco Plaza and artwork in the area in preparation for the demolition.

The fire itself started around 4:45 a.m. on Sunday and did not spread to adjacent occupied structures.

Those who stopped by during the day say it was a significant blaze.

“It was like huge flames and explosions coming out the window and there must have been a dozen fire vehicles, rescue vehicles, ambulances,” said Robert Taylor, who witnessed the blaze.

“Nobody really knew what sort of the situation was inside the building.”

The building, known as Gordon Block was originally built in 1912 and was once home to the iconic Novia Cafe which was in business from 1918 until 2011.

The three storey brick structure was boarded up soon after and left without utilities.

That’s what makes the blaze unusual according to Ryba.

“It was a vacant building but if somebody got in somehow, we don’t know that right now because it was fully involved on the main floor when we arrived yesterday at [around] 4:30 a.m.,” he said.

“We just have to ensure that we have a primary secondary all clear before we can rest easy that there’s nobody in there.”

It could take some time to knock down the building and sift through the rubble in search of the fire’s cause.

Fire crews are also hoping that no one was trapped inside.

Over the course of the demolition, heritage property elements will be preserved as much as possible.

Heavy equipment will be coming in and out of the area as the project continues. The city is working with the Regina Farmers Market and organizers for National Truth and Reconciliation Day as well as the Zombie Walk to adapt event plans. Top Stories

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