By Stephen Dafoe
Sturgeon County – A mid-morning fire Tuesday destroyed a tin barn at the Smokin’ Elk Ranch just outside Morinville and caused an estimated $600,000 to $700,000 in damages. Crews were called in from Morinville, Sturgeon County, Legal and Namao to combat the fire.
Morinville Fire Department Captain Brian Johnston, incident commander on the fire call, said the department was called to a non-residential outdoor structure fire around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday morning and arrived to find the building fully in flames. “When we arrived on scene the roof had already collapsed in,” Johnston said. “There wasn’t a whole lot we could do. Once everything was collapsed in, we didn’t really have access to any of the burning contents inside.”
Lost in the fire was the structure itself as well as a large quantity of equipment and some livestock. Johnston said the structure contained a gravel truck, tractors, quads, a track hoe and 40 chickens. Additionally, the garage contained a walk-in freezer that contained a large quantity of the company’s product.
Although the loss of a barn, equipment, product and livestock is a tragic loss for the local business, the fire could have been worse. Johnston said the east side of the structure had an active gas riser and meter. “We had to protect that until ATCO Gas got there. They were eventually able to do an emergency isolation because they couldn’t get close enough to do an isolation on it.”
Johnston said his crews moved in with hose lines to do their own isolation until ATCO could cut off the line. There was concern that a collapsing wall could take down the gas meter.