Bentley Alta., grain elevator destroyed by fire – Edmonton


A historic grain elevator in the town of Bentley, Alberta, northwest of Red Deer, was completely destroyed by fire.

Reports that the grain elevator was burning came in early Friday morning around 1:30 a.m.

Bentley and Lacombe Fire Departments responded with approximately 20 firefighters working through the freezing night.

« We had to fight the fires in 15-minute shifts because that’s as long as you can stay out there, » Bentley Fire Chief Ian McLaren said.

He said the cold was the biggest challenge.

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« We started to freeze things, » McLaren explained.

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« We had a frozen fire hydrant and some of the lines in the truck started to freeze and frozen pipes in the ground – things like that. »

McLaren said by the time fire crews arrived, the grain elevator was completely engulfed in flames.

« It’s probably a once-in-a-career situation, » McLaren said.

« It’s the biggest fire in terms of size I’ve seen since I was a firefighter. »

On Saturday, fire crews were hosing down the remains of the structure, which was still smoldering.

Bentley firefighters extinguish the smoldering remains of the grain elevator.

Eric Beck / Global News

« It won’t come out until it’s cleaned up, » McLaren said.

The grain elevator is considered the centerpiece of the town.

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« We’re kind of known for our lift, so it’s a big loss – kind of a landmark, » said Bentley Town Mayor Greg Rathjen.

« They don’t build them all the time now… so it was just a historic thing here that was really special. »

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Rathjen noted that it was part of many community events.

“On the lift we put a big screen, we would have a drive-in service – a drive-in movie.

Recently, new “Welcome” and “Thank you for visiting” signs were installed, featuring the grain elevator.

Bentley town sign.

Eric Beck / Global News

Rathjen said that while it’s hard to see it like that, it’s lucky for Bentley to be known for more than the historic structure.

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« It’s sad, but hey, we’re moving on, » he said.

Grain elevator burns at Bentley.

Courtesy of Greg Rathjen

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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