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'Quite catastrophic': Fire burns through 6 businesses at southwest strip mall

A large team of firefighters descended on a fire that broke out inside a southwest Calgary strip mall Thursday morning.

Calgary Fire Department district chief Kevin Wiens said a passerby called 911 when they saw smoke and fire coming from the strip mall in the 1800 block of Sirocco Drive S.W. around 2:45 a.m.

"Our first engine arrived from a neighbouring station about five minutes later and started immediate fire operations," he said.

The fire had been knocked down as of 6 a.m., but crews remained at the scene.

"We are looking for extensions and working to make sure it isn't going to go anywhere else," Weins said.

He said fighting fires in larger structures like a strip mall requires a specific strategy that balances risk and takes all precautions to ensure crews are safe while they do their job.

"We're using bigger lines on top and eventually, once we got it down, we're going inside and getting rid of the rest of the fire," he said.

Wiens said about six businesses were damaged in the fire and some of those are "total losses."

"In some of the units, it's quite catastrophic," he said.

"As time goes on today, and we can get inside and check out a little bit more, we'll be able to determine how much that is."

Rick Chuk has owned the Levilla Restaurant for 18 years.

His business did not sustain any water or fire damage, but the restaurant was filled with thick smoke.

"I have never closed for 18 years. Not even during COVID. I survived all of that stuff, all the ups and downs of the economy, so I don't want to think about that," he told CTV News.

"The good news is no one was (reported) injured," said Carol Henke, public information officer for the fire department.

"However, this is devastating for these small business owners. After everything we've been through in the last few years, it is absolutely a blow they did not need."

Chuk said despite the tough news, he's most concerned about the well-being of his staff.

"For me, I can start my insurance claim pretty soon, they say. I should be able to do that. Hopefully, I can open as soon as possible," he said.

"Owning a restaurant is tough. We're just recovering from COVID, so we need all of the support that we can get. It's a tough business."

There was no information on the cause of the fire, but an investigator was on scene throughout the day.

Henke said there is security camera footage from at least one nearby business that should help their work. Top Stories

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