Thick smoke and the smell of burned wood filled the air around 102 Avenue and 95 Street yesterday afternoon.

A large crowd gathered around the Edmonton Auto Spring Works building, founded in 1914, and watched the historic building being gutted by a fire.

“The building, by and large, has collapsed,” said deputy chief of operations John Lamb about an hour after firefighters got the call.

More than 50 firefighters took a defensive approach to the fire because the roof collapsed and two walls failed early into the blaze.

“It’s a shame to lose any building but in particular some of the landmarks are a big loss to the city,” Lamb said. “At this point this building is pretty well a write off.”

The building was originally a blacksmith business but has mostly been a mechanic shop for the near-century it’s been around.

The city estimates the fire caused $2.5 million in damage.