Road to reopen for Edmonton music venue after arson

News source from CTV News

Zach Howe, CTV Edmonton

Published Sunday, June 24, 2018 6:18PM MDT

Last Updated Sunday, June 24, 2018 6:25PM MDT

After fire tore through a Whyte Avenue business in May, the owner is trying to repair, rebuild and reopen.

On May 28 a fire threatened Dale Weran’s livelihood. He owns The Forge, a popular music venue on Whyte Avenue and is now trying to figure out how to move forward. The fire is still being investigated by the Edmonton Police Service’s Arson Unit.

For the past few weeks, he has been going through the remains of his business, trying to clean and save whatever he can.

“The more electronics we try to clean, the more we’re seeing we’re not able to salvage. Thankfully the P.A. itself we were able to salvage.”

Weran shares the building with Queen Donair and Club 82, which also remain closed while the investigation and clean-up efforts continue.

The Forge has had to cancel shows and turn away customers.

“I’m going to say we lost about $40,000 in June. We’re looking to lose $30,000 to $40,000 a month going into July and August,” he said.

If they can’t open by September or October, then they will lose even more. Bands tend to tour more during those months.

They could just close for good and cut their losses, but Weran is determined to rebuild.

“That’s kind of [what] the phoenix is. We’re rising from the ashes and we’re going to go forward and rebuild and make sure we have another music venue for the scene.”

The Forge doesn’t have insurance so they are paying out of pocket for everything from cleaning to electronics.

“Without knowing when we can inhabit the building again we don’t know when we can get the stuff back in, get the rest of the building cleaned up or if we can get back in there if we have to go somewhere else.”

Weran has launched an Indiegogo with goal of raising $35,000 to help cover all the costs, but doesn’t want to just ask people for money.

“We’re trying to not just ask for money. We’re saying here we’re going to give you stuff for things you would normally come to the venue for like shows and bar tabs.”

The process is painstakingly repetitive but worth it according to Weran.

“It still seems like every time we get it clean to the point where it doesn’t smell anymore, as soon as we use it, it’s just radiating off the speakers again. You can smell the fire.”

With files from Nahreman Issa

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