First a five-alarm fire claimed the Plateau spot Universel Déjeuners et Grillades two weeks ago, and now a fire of the same severity has affected a popular downtown Irish pub: Bishop Street’s Irish Embassy Pub & Grill.
Update (Apr 3): According to the CBC, Irish Embassy is hoping to reopen in about six months, although the bar’s owner hinted to the broadcaster that this is possibly a rather optimistic timeline. Work on the building itself will last six months, according to the pub’s insurance company. Meanwhile, neighbouring bar and stand-up spot Comedyworks confirms that it is staying closed for the foreseeable future due to fire damages, and its shows have all moved to McLean’s Pub.
According to reports from CTV News and Global News, a firefighters received a call at 5:20 a.m. about smoke coming out of the third floor of the same building of the pub. By the time officials arrived, that same floor was engulfed in flames. The situation necessitated that the Irish Embassy’s strip of Bishop had to be shut down for the entire day: Reports between news sources vary, but as many as 150 firefighters are said to have been deployed to fight the fire until it was fully put out around 2 p.m.
While no members of the community were injured as a result, one firefighter was taken to the hospital for minor injuries.
While the third floor is completely unsalvageable, whether or not the building’s lower floors can be saved remains to be seen. The exact cause hasn’t been determined yet, but as with the five-alarm fire two weeks ago, the building’s interior played an integral part in how the blaze had spread: Several of the buildings along strips such as Bishop Street, Irish Embassy included, tote more than a century in age and numerous renovations over the years make it difficult for firefighters to break open floors and walls to let the fire out.
Irish Embassy wasn’t the only establishment affected: the Gazette reports that bars Grumpy’s, John Doe, and Comedyworks were all forced to close for repairs and damage assessment — John Doe and Comedyworks both announced on Facebook that they are closed until further notice.
As for the pub, it’s too soon to say when Montrealers will be able to return to this location for burgers, beers, and whiskey. This neighbourhood in particular, however, has the highest concentration of Irish pubs in the city.
We’d like to thank you all for your concern regarding the fire which has done considerable damage to our home. Everyone is okay and that’s the most important thing. The Embassy staff appreciates all of your kind words. We have always been and will continue to be a family regardless. Our hearts are heavy but our spirit is strong. ❤️ Much love to all of you ✌️