MONTPELIER, LA (WAFB) - Fire investigators are trying to find out what caused the blaze that destroyed the well-known Bear Creek Steakhouse and Saloon in Montpelier early Sunday morning.
State Fire Marshal Butch Browning said the fire started sometime after 3:30 a.m. He added no one was at the longtime St. Helena Parish landmark. Just hours before, the bar room was filled with people listening to live music by country music artist Aaron Lewis.
"The investigation is active, so we are treating it as a crime scene, as standard procedure until we can determine a cause," said Browning.
Browning added his investigators were waiting for what is left of the structure to cool. Several people have been interviewed. The crisis team and police dogs will be back at the scene on Monday.
Montpelier Volunteer Fire Department, District 4 in St. Helena and another fire department from Tangipahoa Parish all responded to the fire.
Kenny Giardina is one of Montpelier's volunteer firefighters and also the town's mayor. He said between 40 and 50 firefighters from six different departments fought the blaze for nearly six hours, knowing that nothing would be salvageable.
"All that metal roof, when it collapses on top of something like that, it's hard to get up underneath it," Giardina explained. "You're not going to go up under it, you know, and you're going to have to shoot it from the outside and it's just difficult to fight it."
Browning said the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal investigated a previous fire at the steakhouse about 10 years ago.
The fire marshal asks anyone that may have been a witness to this massive fire to get in contact with investigators.