Chief: Altoona bar damaged by fire likely a total loss; GoFundMe created for employees

posted Feb. 17, 2017 12:09 a.m. | updated Feb. 17, 2017 11:00 a.m. (CDT)
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by / Leader-Telegram staff

  • mw_fire_1a_021717
    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik | Enlarge
    - A structure fire burns through the roof Thursday night at Encore Bar & Grill at 943 Harlem Street in Altoona.
  • mw_fire_8a_021717-4
    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik | Enlarge
    - A structure fire burns through the roof Thursday night at Encore Bar & Grill at 943 Harlem Street in Altoona.
  • mw_fire_7a_021717-3
    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik | Enlarge
    - A structure fire burns through the roof Thursday night at Encore Bar & Grill at 943 Harlem Street in Altoona.
  • mw_fire_6a_021717-2
    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik | Enlarge
    - A structure fire burns through the roof Thursday night at Encore Bar & Grill at 943 Harlem Street in Altoona.
  • mw_fire_5a_021717-1
    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik | Enlarge
    - A structure fire burns through the roof Thursday night at Encore Bar & Grill at 943 Harlem Street in Altoona.
  • mw_fire_4a_021717
    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik | Enlarge
    - A structure fire burns through the roof Thursday night at Encore Bar & Grill at 943 Harlem Street in Altoona.
  • mw_fire_3a_021717
    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik | Enlarge
    - A structure fire burns through the roof Thursday night at Encore Bar & Grill at 943 Harlem Street in Altoona.
  • mw_fire_2a_021717
    Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik | Enlarge
    - A structure fire burns through the roof Thursday night at Encore Bar & Grill at 943 Harlem Street in Altoona.

The Encore Bar & Grill, evacuated Thursday evening after a fire broke out at the business, likely is a total loss, said Jesse James, Altoona’s police and fire chief.

“Things could have gone a lot differently,” owner David Zempel said. “I’m just happy everyone is OK.”

Additional Info

That said, Zempel plans to rebuild the business he opened in May 2016, he said Friday.

According to information released by James:

The fire was reported to the Altoona Fire Department shortly before 6 p.m. Zempel removed the roughly 16 customers and employees from the bar at the time the fire was identified, and no injuries were reported.

The building, 943 Harlem St., 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. Firefighters battled the blaze initially inside but left the interior when the fire broke through the roof. Efforts were also made to protect nearby structures. Eau Claire and Township fire crews were dispatched to aid in fighting the fire.

The cause of the fire is 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.