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Update: (Video) Iconic New West restaurant, other businesses destroyed by fire

People asked to avoid Columbia Street

New Westminster firefighters battled a stubborn blaze downtown this morning that ended up destroying an iconic Columbia Street restaurant and live music spot.

Fire crews were called out at around 3 a.m. Monday in the 400 block of Columbia Street between Sixth and Fourth, which houses the Heritage Grill restaurant and other businesses.

The owners of the Heritage Grill posted an update on their Facebook page this afternoon lamenting the loss of their business as the building had to be toppled with heavy equipment to put out the stubborn fire.

"At some point earlier in the day we were hopeful that the fire had been somewhat brought under control and that something might be salvageable," reads the Facebook post. "Sadly throughout the day, events took a turn for the worse. We would have been celebrating our 16 year anniversary in just four days. Now there is nothing left. It has been an honor welcoming so many of you to 'The Grill' over the past almost 16 years. No doubt the monumental loss will hit home for us and the community in the coming days and weeks. We will take some time to process today’s events and now divide our focus on reopening Begbies in the next few days after we learn more details on the lifting of the COVID-19 circuit breaker."

Columbia Street has been closed all day due to the fire and people are being advised to stay away from the area by the New Westminster Police Department. SkyTrain service at Columbia station was disrupted but has now resumed. Power was also shut down for several blocks surrounding the fire scene.

Many people have been sharing treasured memories of what the Heritage Grill meant to the community, including such groups as New West Pride and others.

Firefighters from Coquitlam were brought in to assist. A ladder truck is being used to douse the building in water.