Plumes of dark, black smoke poured out of a downtown warehouse yesterday evening attracting crowds of onlookers.
The fire, which lit up the downtown skyline, broke out at the corner of Third Avenue and Black Street shortly before 9 p.m.
The cause of the fire is still unknown.
“We still have lots of questions that need answering,” said fire Chief Clive Sparks.
This morning the RCMP will begin to investigate the blaze, which the fire department believes was arson, said Sparks.
“The building wasn’t occupied and there was no power, so a fire in the building couldn’t have started by itself,” he said.
Thirty firefighters were called to the scene and worked well into the night. Two fire pumpers were dousing the roof of the building with water until 1 a.m.
Extra assistance from Golden Horn had to be called in.
This morning, the building, which acted as a storage warehouse for big game outfitter Klaus Heynen, was severely burned out.
“It was a large building to fight a fire in,” said Sparks. “Thankfully there was no damage to nearby buildings.”
The warehouse is flanked by Napa Auto Parts and the old Super Valu building.
The age of the building was a factor in why it took so long to extinguish, said Sparks.
“There’s lots of nooks and crannies in old buildings like these that make it difficult to fight,” he said.
The building was more than 40 years old and estimates of damage still haven’t been assessed.
No injuries to citizens or firefighters were reported.
The fire prompted almost 40 calls to the fire department and RCMP.
“People were calling in as soon as they saw the fire,” said Sparks. “Dispatchers were overwhelmed with calls. However we’re glad that people phoned in.”
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