CALGARY -- The historic King Edward Hotel in Pincher Creek was destroyed by fire early Saturday.

The fire started just after 4 a.m. Saturday at the hotel, which was originally built in 1904 in the southern Alberta town, about 98 kilometres west of Lethbridge.

"The King Edward Hotel was one of the original buildings in Pincher Creek," said Mayor Don Anderberg. "In recent years the owners of the building have done numerous upgrades to bring it back to its historical values. It was a well-used centre in our community."

Firefighters arrived to find smoke and flames coming from the back of the three-storey building and the blaze quickly spread, said Chief David Cox, head of emergency services for Pincher Creek.  

The fire burned for several hours but crews were able to limit the damage to just the one building. No injuries were reported, however a number of people living and staying at the hotel will be displaced.

Cox said on Saturday afternoon it is too early to determine a cause of the fire and he expects investigators will sift through the rubble next week.

"The building had quite a bit of historic value and the owner had put a lot of work into maintaining its integrity," he said. "It's been part of Pincher Creek for a long time."

A reception centre was opened at the Town Hall Gym (962 St. John Avenue) for anyone needing assistance. Residents who have been evacuated are asked to check in by phone at 1-855-627-5365 or in person.