Fire destroys historic Moncton, N.B., landmark, popular restaurant

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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MONCTON, N.B. - A family business and Moncton landmark was destroyed Saturday morning when flames ripped through Le Chateau a Pape, a popular restaurant overlooking the Petitcodiac River.
Suzanne Cyr stood in the freezing cold and cried as she watched firefighters douse hot spots in the 108-year-old building. The restaurant her father Pius Gosselin opened in 1994 was reduced to a shell, the inside gutted by flames and the outside caked in thick ice from the firefighters' hoses.
"We worked so hard for this," said Cyr, who used to work at her family's restaurant. "My dad opened this place and he made it everything it is."
Cyr heard about the fire in the early hours of Saturday morning and came down immediately to see what was happening. As she surveyed the destruction, she said she hadn't talked much with her family, including her brother Pierre Gosselin, the current owner.
"I have no idea what they'll do, it's too early to say," she said. "This is such a big loss."
Fire prevention officer Mike Arsenault said the entire building will likely have to come down. He was waiting on an excavator to come take the roof off the building so they could get better access inside.
The restaurant had closed for the night when someone noticed smoke coming from the back of the building, which is the kitchen area, at about 12:30 a.m.
"It was going good when we arrived," said Arsenault. "They thought they had it at one point and they were doing a real good job - we had a bunch of guys here, the volunteers out - but there's so many nooks and crannies, it just took off."
The firefighters had been inside battling flames for about two hours when they lost the upper hand and had to pull back.
Arsenault said they know the fire started in the kitchen but the exact cause wasn't yet known.
The two-storey building was built in 1902 and has a historic designation with the city.
Mayor George LeBlanc said the fire has resulted in a huge loss for the city.
"The Chateau a Pape is one of the most distinguished restaurants in Moncton and it's a really sad day to see it in ashes," he said.

Organizations: Le Chateau

Geographic location: Moncton, Petitcodiac River

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