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Fire destroys historic Montana steakhouse

Posted at 8:56 AM, Oct 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-01 11:31:21-04

CARDWELL — Firefighters continue to put out hotspots to an early morning fire that destroyed the LaHood Park Steakhouse near Cardwell.

“We received the call about 10 to 4 this morning and when we got the call it was already pretty much fully engulfed. There was some minor explosions from pressure tanks,” Derek Bingham of the Jefferson Valley Rural Fire Department said on Thursday.

There were occupants living on a lower floor of the building who escaped from the building and contacted the owner who called 911.

The fire leveled the historic bar and restaurant which was first built in 1928. The restaurant is located in a rural part of Highway 2 near the Jefferson River and about two miles south of Cardwell.

“The most challenging part was just getting water out here. When we have these rural fires that’s what we have so many water tenders out here and it’s just hard to get the water out here,” said Bingham.

Local resident Maureen Martin was saddened to see the historic building go up in flames. Her father used to own the restaurant back in the 60s, and she said the current owner did a great job improving the business.

“My dad would have been thrilled if he was alive for all the improvements that Phil made. The bar was beautiful, the restaurant, he redid the whole inside. It just made me so proud,” said Martin.

For those who live in this community, it’s more than just the loss of a business, it’s a loss of a piece of their history and it’s very personal.

“It’s just devastating to not see it, and I sent pictures to my siblings and we all feel the same, it was very devastating to have lost it, it’s just gone now,” said Martin.

The state fire marshal is investigating the fire to try to determine a cause.