Saskatoon police now say a fire at a nightclub Tuesday morning is not being investigated as arson — while not ruling it out as a potential cause.
Fire crews were called out around 5:30 a.m. to Matriarch Nightclub and Event Centre, formerly Ryly’s and Tequila nightclubs, on Alberta Avenue near the intersection of Idylwyld Drive and 33rd Street.
Assistant Fire Chief Wayne Rodger said first reports stated flames and smoke were pouring out of the roof.
Police then issued a news release around 2 p.m. stating, “early indications of the cause of fire has led to an arson investigation, which is now ongoing.”
Two hours later, they sent out a correction.
“Investigators are not investigating this incident as an arson at this time. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined,” the release stated.
Police are continuing their investigation into the cause of the fire, which is pegged at $2 million in damages.
Club owner Rose Buscholl just signed the lease to the building in October and told 650 CKOM the club was closed Sunday night.
“I really don’t know. I wasn’t here last night (Sunday). I was at home with my kids,” Buscholl said. “Just waiting to see what’s going to happen next. I’ve never dealt with this before.”
Buscholl hopes she’ll be able to rebuild but wasn’t sure of the extent of the damage.
Firefighters sawing away at the roof as smoke pours out of 1201 Alberta Ave. pic.twitter.com/rusP3OuImb
— Bryn Levy (@BrynLevy) December 12, 2017
‘Potential for a collapse’
Five fire trucks were initially sent to the scene Tuesday, but three more were added as it became clear the blaze would be a difficult one to put out.
Rodger, with the Saskatoon Fire Department, said with flames inside the roof of the structure, it was a challenging situation for first responders.
“Obviously, there’s a fair amount of concern when we have fire above us, there’s always the potential for a collapse.”
No one was reported as being inside at the time.
Crews were on scene for several hours, with traffic restrictions lifted shortly after noon.
— With files from 650 CKOM’s Bryn Levy and Chris Carr.