EDMONTON – Residents were forced to flee as fire departments from three communities tried but failed to save the Two Hills curling rink.
An unspecified number of people were inside the building for an event Tuesday evening, but everyone got out safely, RCMP said. Several nearby residences were evacuated and ambulances were on standby.
The Two Hills fire department, along with their counterparts from Hairy Hill and Myrnam, fought the blaze for hours starting around 7 p.m. Although the rink was destroyed, firefighters were able to save the adjacent arena.
Andy Hofer, who took photos, said at one stage there were up to 300 people who had either been inside the rink or hockey arena, or who drove up to watch the inferno. “The parking lot got so full I had a heck of a time getting out.”
Hofer had gone to town to pick up his mail when he spotted the fire in its early stages. “We got there even before the police; there was smoke everywhere.”
He said it’s suspected the fire broke out in the boiler room, but RCMP say the cause, origin and a damage estimate have yet to be determined.
Two Hills is a community of about 3,000 people, 137 km east of Edmonton.
© 2013 The Edmonton Journal