Atco Gas Building Gutted by Night Fire
An early morning blaze destroyed the inside of the Atco Gas building just east of Main Street in downtown Provost on Thursday, November 14.
There were no injuries in the fire that also caused part of the roof to collapse.
Atco Gas agent John Ratzlaff said that after a heat sensor sent an alarm to Edmonton he was called about 3:15 a.m. and went to the 1,000 square foot building south of the movie theatre.
I thought, this is for real when he first saw the flames shooting out of his office window that faced towards the north.
He immediately called an Atco dispatcher in Edmonton for help.
Approximately 15 volunteer Provost firemen were on the scene from about 3:30 a.m. to 7 a.m.
RCMP were later on hand to investigate and Const. Geordie Simpson said that they are treating the fire as suspicious. He says that if anyone has information about the fire they should contact police or Crime Stoppers.
A provincial fire commissioner investigator, Tom OGorman of Red Deer was on the scene and went through the debris later that afternoon. He was not available for comment at press time on Monday but a spokesman for Alberta Municipal Affairs, Alison Gates-Kriston said from her Edmonton office that the cause and the origin of the fire was not determined and that the fire commissioners office investigation has been completed.
She suggested that if further investigation takes place it could be driven by an insurance company or police.
Ten year employee in town, Leroy Corpe said he did not know about the blaze until he went to the building at 7 a.m. Its devastating pointing out that the 12 to 13 year old building had been here longer than he had, and also has sentimental value.
Ratzlaff and Corpe lost some personal photographs and other effects in the fire. Ratzlaff said that he found cash still in a drawer.
The two men service an area with Atco Gas that includes customers from the Edgerton, Amisk, Hughenden, Czar, Cadogan, and Provost areas in addition to 14 other rural gas users.
Staff have set up a temporary office inside the new town administrative building north of the Atco office.
Print version and picture in November 20 edition of The Provost News
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