An unexplained fire caused significant damage to the Chronic Therapy marijuana shop in south Cortez early Monday morning, but the building was saved.
The fire at 1020 S. Broadway torched a good portion of the east side of the business, destroying a deck and spreading into the attic, said Jay Balfour, chief of the Cortez Fire Protection District.
The multistory building previously housed the Lotsa Pasta restaurant.
The fire was reported about 1:30 a.m., and when fire crews arrived, it was burning on the deck and east side of the structure.
“It was burning heavy, and had moved to the ground floor and into the attic,” he said. “We fought it with a ladder truck on the outside, and with firefighters inside, knocking it down before it could spread further.”
Holes were punched into the roof to put out the fire in the attic. After the fire was extinguished, mop-up continued past 4 a.m.
The fire momentarily had spread to some shrubbery in a field bordering the business. No injuries were reported.
Balfour said the cause of the fire is undetermined and is being investigated by the Cortez Police Department and the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control.
Chronic Therapy manager Ryan Coleman said the shop will remain closed until repairs could be made.
Equipment losses were significant, he said.
“We had just opened, and business was good,” he said. “We plan to reopen as soon as possible.”
Coleman said the business has surveillance cameras and the recordings were made available to investigators. He said he believed the fire was suspicious and added that Chronic Therapy was offering a $500 reward for information that leads to a conviction if foul play was involved. On Wednesday, the reward was raised to $1,000.
According to an email from the shop, the marijuana hosted its grand opening Friday through Sunday and included a barbecue and deals on products. Its business hours were listed as Monday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The Cortez Fire Protection District, Cortez Police Department and a Southwest Health Systems ambulance responded to the blaze.