RCMP are investigating a suspicious fire that burned down a vacant landmark hotel in a town northwest of Edmonton Wednesday morning.

Fire crews responded to the Dallas Hotel in Barrhead at approximately 9:30 a.m. Firefighters and RCMP have deemed the blaze suspicious.

“When we first got on scene, it had spread drastically and very aggressively throughout the property,” Barrhead Fire Chief John Whittaker told CTV News at the scene.

“It is pretty stubborn and getting stuck up in the attic.”

Whittaker said two firefighters were treated by EMS for smoke inhalation and discharged on scene. Crews searched the building and didn’t find anyone inside.

The Dallas Hotel was closed four years ago due to a “structural compromise,” Whittaker said, and was boarded up for almost a year.

"I was hoping they would knock it down before this happened," an onlooker named Violet said.

‘It was a really nice place’

Community members said goodbye to the local staple as it burned down and reminisced about the good times in there.

“A lot of people drank in there. Partied, had fun. I worked in there,” Ryan Hughes told CTV News.

For Brian Colten, it was even more personal.

“My grandparents used to own this hotel. So I have a lot of memories in there.”


Uncertain beginnings

Not even the Town of Barrhead could say what year the Dallas Hotel opened.

At the Barrhead Centennial Museum, members could only find one undated historic photo of Dallas Hotel.

A book detailing the history of Barrhead made no mention of it.

"This is a history of Barrhead, but not all businesses are in there," said Elsie Measures, the museum's treasurer.

Barrhead is approximately 120 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

With files from Dan Grummett