By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Firefighters were still pulling contents from the burned remains of Morinville Baptist Church Saturday morning after an early morning fire destroyed the church located at 431 Grandin Drive.
Ken Thiemann, Morinville Fire Department’s Deputy Chief of Operations (DCO) said the department received a call around 5:15 a.m. Saturday morning alerting them to the smell of smoke in the air. After coming to investigate himself, Morinville’s crews were dispatched to the scene, and Legal Fire Department was called in to assist.
“When we got here there was smoke from all the corners of the building,” Thiemann said Saturday morning. “We broke the door down and went in through the front door and got chased out.”
The DCO said he believes the fire had been smouldering for quite some time before crews arrived. Additional ventilation was created and hoses brought to the sides to combat the blaze.
“We ventilated the windows so the guys could go in there,” Thiemann said, adding flames shot out when the peak of the church was opened. “That’s where she went full force. We pulled the guys out.”
Thiemann said the cause of the fire is not yet known; however, it appears the fire began in the basement. From there it appears to have burned through the main floor and quickly risen to the roof of the building.
Water was waist deep in the basement of the destroyed church Saturday morning as firefighters were still work to control the fire. As of 11 a.m. Saturday morning, Thiemann was trying to organize water from a Town slew to flood the basement to the rafters in order to ensure any embers were completely out. Thiemann said a backhoe was to be brought in to tear down some walls to further assist fire operations.
Serge Lavalee, a deacon with Morinville Baptist Church was on the scene Saturday morning observing the destruction to his house of worship. Although saddened by the loss of the building, Lavalee was comforted that only material things were lost.
“No lives were lost,” Lavalee said. “It’s only a building. We’ll start again.”
Above left: A Morinville firefighter emerges from the burned ruins of Morinville Baptist Church with some books from inside the structure. – Stephen Dafoe Photo