Nineteen Santa Monica firefighters were called at 4:34 a.m. July 6 to the Dakota Lounge, 1026 Wilshire Blvd., regarding a structure fire and saw fire coming from the roof upon their arrival, said Capt. Judah Mitchell, fire spokesman. Firefighters began to attack the blaze from the inside of the building but moved to the outside due to the threat of a roof collapse, he said.
They were able to prevent the fire from spreading to adjacent businesses and extinguished it in about 30 minutes, he said. No injuries were reported.
Fire officials believe the blaze may have originated in the business offices of the venue based on the amount of heat damage to the area, Mitchell said. The cause is under investigation but fire officials don’t believe it is arson-related, he said. Damage estimates have not been determined.
In an email to Dakota Lounge supporters, Heather Rae, vice president of booking and promotions, said while staff are thankful that the stage remains fully intact, the majority of the venue is in ruins. The live music establishment replaced the former Temple Bar in 2008.
Rae explained that the offices where the small staff have worked since the opening no longer exist and a hand-painted mural at the bar has been charred.
She noted that the stage has hosted musical performances by both household names and local singer-songwriters for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. The owners and staff have expressed a commitment to the popular lounge’s recovery and plan to “do whatever it takes to reopen the venue they all devoted their lives and their life savings to,” she said.
They have also expressed gratitude to their supporters as they attempt to rebuild the music venue following the fire.