January 14, 2015

14/01/2015: Fire razes Canadian grain elevator

One of Sexsmith, Canada’s iconic grain elevators was burned to the ground on Tuesday evening, but early indications show that the blaze could have been a lot worse, The Daily Herald Tribune reports.

Sexsmith Mayor Claude Lagace, who was in communication with County of Grande Prairie Fire Chief Everett Cooke throughout the night, said that the adjacent grain elevator and the Northern Alberta Railway Station, located directly across train tracks from the elevator were saved.


The railway station is listed in the Alberta Register of Historic Places.

Firefighters from around the Grande Prairie region joined the Sexsmith Fire Department in battling the blaze, which was first reported at 7:35pm
local time. The Grande Prairie Regional Emergency Preparedness Partnership was activated for the response.

By 9:45pm, the northernmost elevator was reduced to flames that were still three times the height of the firefighters attending to it. The County of Grande Prairie reported that the fire had been contained by 10:20pm and that crews were focusing on limiting damage to the adjacent elevator.

It’s unclear how much damage was done to the second elevator, although the County of Grande Prairie confirmed it did show signs of flames.

Before the fire, there were plans to preserve the elevator that is still standing.

The Town of Sexsmith did not own the northernmost elevator, and Mr Lagace said it was set to be torn down in the future.

Mr Lagace added that the elevator was empty. “It’s been out of use for about 10 years now,” he said.

Police had much of 100 Street blocked off during the firefight, and charred debris littered streets several blocks downwind of the blaze.

Environment Canada forecasted wind gusts of up to 50 km/h overnight in the area.

In total, 39 firefighters were called to the scene from the Sexsmith Fire Department, County of Grande Prairie Clairmont, Dunes, La Glace, Teepee Creek and Bezanson fire stations, the City of Grande Prairie, and the Town of Wembley.

100 Street from 99 Avenue to 100 Avenue and Elevator Road will remain closed indefinitely.

Lagace said given the circumstances, things could have been far worse.
“We are very lucky this happened in the winter time. The wind wasn’t cooperating with us but at the end of the day nobody got hurt,” he said.

Read the article and watch the video HERE.

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