Fire destroyed a popular West Ottawa pub this morning.

Smoke was seen billowing from the roof at the Cheshire Cat Pub at the corner of Richardson Side Road and Carp Road. Ottawa Firefighters tried to enter the second storey of the building but smoke and flames pushed them back.  They continued their attack from the outside.

"There's always a risk of collapse," says Marc Messier with the Ottawa Fire Services, "A good section of the roof did collapse so it was a good reason to keep our firefighters out, knowing no one was inside."

The owner of the Pub, Dustin Therrien, had contacted the Fire Department shortly after being alerted about the fire, indicating all his 36 employees had been accounted for.  Therrien lives down the road from the Cheshire Cat Pub.

"I could see the smoke on Carp Road," says Therrien, "I just knew it was going to be bad."

As many as 20 truck with 50 firefighters crews responded to the fire.  Tankers were brought in to supply the crews with water. Later this afternoon, fire crews were still on the scene, controlling hot spots but the building was declared a total loss, with an estimated damage of $700,000. It was not yet clear how the fire had started.  Therrien says the pub closed as usual at 11:30 Sunday night, with the last employee leaving shortly after.     

News of the fire moved quickly through the Carp community.  The Cheshire Cat Pub was not only a gathering place for residents, but also a fine eatery known for serving locally grown food.

"Super upset," says Lon Ladell, the brewmaster of the Big Rig, a brew pub owned by Senators' player Chris Phillips.  "The Cheshire Cat has been a hug proponent of the craft brewing industry in Ottawa and they will be sadly missed until they can rebuild."

Dustin Therrien and his wife Crystal bought the Cheshire Cat Pub seven years ago.  They recently renovated the entire building, spending nearly $700,000 to redo the kitchen, structure and add an addition.

"It's all going to be all right," said Therrien, standing outside the remains of his pub, "I love it.  The building is gone but we can start over.  I just worry about my staff more than anything.  They're like family and i want to make sure they're all right."

Already there were offers to help.  The Big Rig is asking employees of the Pub to drop off their resumes.

"Being a big restaurant and so involved in the community," says the Big Rig's Krista Baggs, "we want to help out as best we can."

The cause of the fire is not known.