Fire damages Altoona bar and grill

posted Feb. 16, 2017 9:04 p.m. | updated Feb. 16, 2017 10:57 p.m. (CDT)
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    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik | Enlarge
    - A structure fire burned Thursday at Encore Bar & Grill, 943 Harlem St., Altoona. View more photos at LeaderTelegram.com.

Encore Bar & Grill was evacuated Thursday evening after a fire broke out at the business at 943 Harlem St. in Altoona.

The fire was reported to the Altoona Fire Department shortly before 6 p.m.

Encore owner David Zempel removed the roughly 16 customers and employees from the bar at the time the fire was identified, and no injuries were reported, according to a news release from the Altoona Fire Department.

The building was filled with smoke when Altoona firefighters entered the structure and attempted to locate the fire, but the crews were evacuated when flames appeared through the roof. Crews were still fighting the fire as of 9:30 p.m. and also working to protect nearby structures.

The cause of the fire is undetermined, but it started in the ceiling area, said Altoona Fire Chief Jesse James, adding that the blaze caused “significant damage.” The fire remains under investigation.

Encore Bar & Grill opened last spring in the building that had been home to many previous bars, including Caddyshack, Pit Stop and Whiskey Dicks.

The Eau Claire and Township fire departments, along with the Altoona Police Department and Eau Claire County sheriff’s office, also responded.