CORONACH - Smoke was observed emanating from the Coronach Community Hall by local resident Elaine Hicks on November 3 around 9 a.m.
Town Councillor and Hall chairman Ron Mames was immediately notified by Hicks, and was the first to arrive on scene. Thick black smoke filled the interior of the hall, making it impossible for Mames to see. He immediately exited the building.
Emergency responders were quickly on the scene just moments after the fire was reported, and some 30 minutes later, the fire was extinguished. In total, nine volunteer firefighters battled the stubborn blaze.
“Those first responders were very professional in their approach to fighting the fire and so was the RCMP in directing traffic away from the scene,” said Mames in an interview. “Fortunately, there were no injuries, in what could have been an extremely dangerous situation.”
Mames confirmed that the fire department was once again summoned to extinguish a smoldering ‘flare-up’ that same evening, around 10 p.m.
In an effort to ascertain if the fire was accidental in nature, or deliberately set, the Coronach RCMP was not available for comment. Fire Chief Gavin Perry stated unofficially however, that the fire ‘appeared’ to start near a wall receptacle at the back of the hall near the ‘bar’. According to Ron Mames, Perry suspects that the receptacle at the rear of the hall ‘shorted out’ causing the fire to ignite. No ‘official’ cause of the fire can be determined until a complete investigation is conducted.
Water, smoke, and fire damage to the interior of the community hall is extensive. The upper level, main floor, and basement were all heavily damaged. No estimate of the total damage is currently available.
Whether or not the hall should be torn down or repaired, is also not known at this time.