Bear Creek Saloon fire investigation still underway

ST. HELENA PARISH, LA (WAFB) - A state investigation into the devastating fire at a Louisiana landmark in St. Helena Parish continued Monday and officials say there is still a long way to go.

The historic Bear Creek Saloon in Montpelier was destroyed by fire early Sunday morning.

Louisiana Fire Marshal Butch Browning and state investigators continued looking into the blaze that he says engulfed the entire structure in less than an hour, something he believes should not have happened so quickly considering the complex was fully equipped with a fire sprinkler system.

"As we look at this fire and look at a fire that was 40 percent involved when the fire department arrived through the roof of the building in a matter of a half hour total involvement, that should not happen in a building that has a properly operating fire sprinkler system," said Browning.

Browning says the sprinkler system was installed back in 2005 after another fire destroyed the front restaurant portion of the property. He adds the system was required to get the structure up to code. The cause of Sunday's fire is still undetermined and Browning says the investigation is preliminary based on the size of the building and the amount of destruction.

"We're looking at probably about 20 different possible causes that can cause fires and that laundry list we go through as we confirm things. It's really preliminary right now so we're hoping over the next few days to have a better picture of that," added Browning.

Browning says anyone who was at the show late Saturday night at Bear Creek Saloon is urged to contact the state fire marshal's office. Anonymous tips can be made at the department's website at

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