With a history spanning back some 60 years of serving the community, the McLure restaurant is no more. The restaurant was completely destroyed by fire last Saturday evening, which also destroyed a small vacant house immediately adjacent to the building.
The fire was reported just before 10 p.m., with the McLure Fire Department quickly responding with 17 firefighters to find the restaurant already engulfed. The Barriere Fire Department also responded to help, sending a pumper and a bush truck, even though there is currently no mutual aid agreement between the two communities.
One of the priorities during the fire was to keep a large propane tank, situated 40 feet behind the restaurant and reportedly just filled from exploding. One firefighter ran water on the tank throughout the fire, preventing the disaster that an exploding propane tank could have caused.
Firefighters reported that it took just over an hour for the building to be leveled by the fire, which had also spread to a vacant house that was in close proximity.
Firefighters were successful in keeping the flames from spreading to adjacent homes and properties though, which greatly reduced the possibilities of more losses in the area due to the flames.
The McLure Fire Department remained on site throughout the night, putting out hot spots and watching over the other homes in the vicinity. They were finally able to leave the scene at approximately 3 p.m. on Easter Sunday.
As of press time the cause of the fire has not been determined but the investigation is ongoing.
Chef Maurice Berube, a partner with John Sutherland in the McLure Truck Stop Cafe, says they had only just opened for business in December of 2014.
“We are devastated,” said Berube, “John and I know we had a good business going here, it was growing everyday. We lost a lot of equipment, and I lost restaurant equipment of my own as well. We had just purchased a cold salad bar and had finished another batch of renovations inside.”
Area resident Monica Ireland said the loss of the restaurant, which has been in the community for some 60 years is sad. “After being closed for awhile it had just really started to come forward,” said Ireland, “Everyone was starting to come there to gather and socialize. Maurice and John hosted a very successful spaghetti dinner fundraiser in March with the profits donated to the McLure Fire Department and Recreation Society. They raised $2,000 in their restaurant for our society.”
Residents of the community say the restaurant will be sorely missed by them, as well as by travellers who stopped there for a meal and a rest from driving over the past 60 years.
McLure resident Sherry Anderson says the ‘McLure Truck Stop Cafe’ Facebook page will remain operational, and they are encouraging anyone with photos, stories or other information about the restaurant over the past 60 years to please share it by posting on the Facebook site.
According to Berube, the building and business were fully insured, but she says it is too early to be able to say what she plans for the future.
“I would be very interested to start again if they do rebuild the restaurant. It was a good business, the customers were good people, and I loved it.”