Rouleau, Sask. grain elevator seen on ‘Corner Gas’ destroyed by fire

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WATCH: The grain elevator in the town of Rouleau, Sask., featured on the comedy show 'Corner Gas' was demolished by a fire Friday morning – Nov 5, 2021

One of the most recognizable landmarks on the Saskatchewan prairies has burned to the ground.

The grain elevator in Rouleau, Sask., — made famous in the Canadian comedy show Corner Gas — was engulfed in flames early Friday morning.

In this submitted photo, the last remaining grain elevator in Rouleau, Sask., is engulfed in flames. Submitted / Laurie Bean

“Dog River,” the name of the fictional town in the show, was painted across the iconic elevator.

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Wayne Rumford, fire chief of the Rouleau and District Fire Department, said they received a call about the incident at about 2:40 a.m.

Within an hour to hour and a half, the fire brought the elevator down.

“With embers being carried through the air, we were worried about them landing on roofs and potentially starting more fires,” stated Rumford.

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The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

Rouleau is approximately 50 kilometres southwest of Regina.

‘Hate to see something like this disappear’

Grant Clarke, who has served as the mayor of Rouleau for the past 10 years, said the fire likely started at around 2 a.m. on Friday.

According to Clarke, the structure was fully involved by the time fire trucks from the town and nearby communities arrived to the burning building.

All firefighters could do was contain the fire.

“At one time we had seven elevators here, but this was the last remaining elevator,” mentioned Clarke when speaking to Global News on Friday. “It was built in 1973, and then a local farmer owned it.”

Firefighters are seen at the site of a grain elevator fire on Friday morning in the community of Rouleau, Sask. Derek Putz / Global News

Read more: ‘Corner Gas’ set dismantled in Rouleau, Sask.

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Clarke said there are not many buildings associated with Corner Gas left in the community.

He suggested that the grain elevator was the most significant of them all.

“It was easily visible from the highway. Some people would think they were in ‘Dog River,’ but they didn’t realize they were actually in Rouleau,” shared Clarke as he smiled.

Despite the empty feeling being felt by residents of Rouleau and the surrounding area, Clarke said it was a community effort when the elevator went up in flames.

“We’re very fortunate here in town. We have a really good fire department, local farmers hauled in water so they could fight it, an excavator was here to look for hot spots. Many people pitched in,” Clarke added.

Co-owner speaks about loss

Lance Bean, a co-owner of the elevator, said an opportunity came up for his family to purchase the structure when the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool began closing small elevators in the 1990s.

Bean’s family bought the Rouleau elevator in the mid-90s to store and clean grain for many years. However, they didn’t use the elevator as much in recent years.

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“We were actually in the process of trying to sell it, but I think that process is over now,” said Bean on Friday.

Submitted / Laurie Bean

The elevator’s connection with Corner Gas began about six to eight months before they started filming the show in the town.

Bean said the TV crew approached his family to see if they could put the “Dog River” sign on the elevator, which the family and the town agreed to.

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He mentioned that the town appreciated it when the sign was left on the elevator once the show was over since it helped drive tourism in the area.

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“It was a bit of a shock when we saw it this morning,” Bean admitted. “We looked out our window at 3 a.m. and saw it blazing away. At the moment, we’re just dealing with all the details around it.”

He added that the property belongs to Canadian Pacific Railway and is being leased out to Bean’s family.

The site will have to be cleaned up and be returned to a natural state following the incident.

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