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Firefighters were on the scene of the Thirsty Moose Bar & Grill for 9 hours Friday night. Photo courtesy of Jayson Botel.

Cause of Thirsty Moose Fire to Stay ‘Undetermined’

By Ryan Forbes Feb 23, 2023 | 5:00 AM

Red Lake Fire Chief Dexter Hupe says the cause of this weekend’s fire at the Thirsty Moose Bar & Grill will stay undetermined, as there’s not enough evidence left to conduct a proper investigation.

Chief Hupe explains the Red Lake Fire & Rescue Service was dispatched to the Thirsty Moose for the smell of smoke at 11:40 p.m., and crews wouldn’t leave the scene until 8:30 a.m. the next day.

Just under 30 firefighters were dispatched to the fire by 11:50 p.m. with 7 firetrucks on scene. They also had the support of the OPP, Northwest EMS, Hydro One, Enbridge Gas and Red Lake’s Public Works Department.

Chief Hupe explains initially, crews attempted to enter the structure to spray water within, but they were met with harsh interior conditions. Due to the risk, Hupe says crews shifted into a defensive strategy.

“In this strategy, all fire control activities are conducted from outside the structure focusing on protecting exposures and identifying collapse zones,” says Chief Hupe.

“This fire resulted in extensive damage to the structure and the contents that do not allow us to collect the necessary data to be able to identify the origin [and] cause of the fire. Whenever the cause cannot be proven, the proper classification is undetermined,” he adds.

Fortunately, no injuries were reported throughout the event as the OPP worked to control traffic, EMS was on standby for injuries, utility workers had shut off gas and electricity and public works provided sand to improve firefighter safety, as well as heavy machinery.

Thirsty Moose owner Tyson Pitura has thanked the public for all of its support and says he and his staff are hoping to reopen in a new location in the coming months.


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