Two of Outlook's most well-known business buildings are no more after a raging fire broke out this past week that resulted in the longtime locations having to be demolished to the ground.
The Outlook Fire Department, as well as RCMP and EMS workers responded to a structural fire that had started on the north side of Saskatchewan Avenue at 1:27 am on Monday, April 17, affecting the old Outlook Electric building and the neighboring office location formerly used by local MLA Jim Reiter and other local businesses in years past. The situation was so intense that the intersection of Saskatchewan Avenue and Franklin Street had to be blocked off from all directions, with RCMP rerouting traffic coming into town from both entrances and advising motorists to take alternate streets for the time being.
Crews were hard at work all night and all morning in battling the blaze, with the public keeping a safe distance away and respecting the firefighters' wishes for the scene to remain undisturbed.
The buildings were a complete loss as a result of the blaze, said Sgt. Mark Langager of the Outlook RCMP.
During the noon hour, machinery came in and leveled the structures to the ground, drawing the attention of many onlookers, some who were visibly shocked to see buildings with such a long-standing history in Outlook be reduced to nothing.
The fire also managed to impact the businesses surrounding it with plumes of smoke, with Mann Agencies and Jacq'y Jaye's Boutique and Espresso Bar having to close for the time being. As well, the Bank of Montreal ended up closing for the day.
The scene was cleared for the public just after the noon hour and traffic was allowed to once again move through at the intersection of Saskatchewan Avenue and Franklin Street, making the time spent on the scene for the fire department and emergency workers approximately twelve hours from the time of the call to the time where traffic could normally resume.
The scorched scenery in downtown Outlook wasn't the only thing keeping the fire department busy that day, as they also responded to a grass fire just before noon, as well as a STARS Air Ambulance landing scenario after 2:30, making for a long day for the local fire crew members.
The Outlook Fire Department is to be commended on the job they did in fighting the fire, said Sgt. Langager, particularly in managing to contain a blaze of substantial size to the building it started in and not allowing it to spread. The public is encouraged to thank a volunteer firefighter for the work that they do, sometimes at the strangest times of the day or night.
The exact cause of the fire was unknown at the time of this issue, as Sgt. Langager said the investigators were set to start their investigation on Tuesday to determine the cause, but it was considered to be non-suspicious. For now, the scene of the fire is fenced off and will be for some time as different crews will be working in the area to work the case and clean up the wreckage.