A blaze that started in the evening on Dec. 1 completely devastated the Family Meats Ltd.’s slaughter plant in Ponoka’s industrial park. Pictured here ladder no. 9 is used to douse the flames from above around midnight. Photos by Emily Jaycox

Ponoka’s Family Meats Ltd.’s slaughter plant a total loss

Fire burned through the night

A fire at the Family Meats Ltd. slaughter plant in the industrial park, located at 4207-67 St., has burned down after a fire began in the evening on Dec. 1 and was still smouldering into the early hours on Dec. 2.

The Ponoka County Regional Fire Services was called to the scene at about 8:45 p.m. and were on site until around 6:45 a.m., when trucks, hoses, and firefighters began to freeze in the cold.

Crews will be back on site Dec. 2 to continue to put out remaining hot spots and to begin investigating the cause of the blaze.

“I couldn’t put a finger on it yet,” said East District Fire Chief Dale Morrow.

“That will take quite a bit of digging around to figure out.”

Engines no. 16 and 2 were deployed, as well as ladder no. 9, which was used to douse the flames from above.

A total of 17 firefighters worked through the night to get the flames under control.

One firefighter was taken to hospital and observed overnight, due to exhaustion and perhaps some smoke inhalation, and was released in the morning, says Morrow.

There were 100 head of hogs in the back during the fire, in an area attached to the end of the building under a roof, that survived during the fire, and were transported out in the morning.

The slaughterhouse uses .22 bullets to put down the animals, and an unknown number were popping off during the fire.

The copper shells will be present when fire crews get in to look around, but the tin shell flies off when heated, making a “steady little barrage of pops,” says Morrow.

READ MORE: Garage fire in Lucas Heights caused by welding spark

Firefighters were inside the building at the start, but couldn’t reach areas inside the building. They accessed the building through the roof initially, but with the roof destabilizing they had to exit the building.

The roof came down in stages throughout the night and firefighters continued to work to control the heat.

Morrow says he believes there was no damage to surrounding properties, but there is a lot of water and ice in neighbouring yards the next morning.

Jent Hoekstra, general manager, was on hand during the fire assisting the firefighters with knowledge of the layout of the building, and keeping in contact with the business owners, according to Morrow.

There were no employees present in the building when the fire broke out and no reported injuries.

Family Meats Ltd. was founded by two local families and was sold to a company in B.C. a year ago.

The 8,500 square foot slaughter plant, which opened in 2011, is a total loss, according to Morrow.

The business also owns a meat shop in Airdrie that opened in 2016 and a secondary store front location in Ponoka located at 5710-49 St. Ponoka.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Town set to pave remainder of 54 Ave.

Bashaw council to find the money through 2020 budget talks

24 Hour game fundraiser set for Ponoka

Event on Feb. 7 and 8 will raise funds for PMHA and KidSport

The best caesar in Canada can be found in Sylvan Lake

Kjeryn Dakin’s Tragically Hips caesar won the national Best Caesar in Town competition

Camrose rink takes home Farmer’s title

Annual bonspiel attracts 28 rinks from around the region

Bashaw addresses water quality concerns

Residents urged to contact town with any issues

VIDEO: Trudeau insists Iran respect families’ wishes when it comes to burials

All 176 people on board the Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 were killed

Harry and Meghan should cover their own security costs: NDP heritage critic

The prince, Meghan Markle and their eight-month-old son Archie are reportedly staying at a mansion near Victoria

Alberta premier wants federal government to do more about opioid imports

Jason Kenney says Canada should find ways to cut down on drugs being smuggled into the country

Alberta Energy Regulator laying off staff, restructures, deals with budget cuts

Gordon Lambert, interim CEO, says the changes are part of a restructuring

‘Manny’s Motel’ badly damaged by fire

Fire displaces several people as building was used as a shelter

‘Elder in the Making’ Herr Lecture in Lacombe brings light to Treaty 7

Documentary film/interactive talk highlights relationship between Blackfoot elder, Chinese newcomer

Hammerfest reaches a decade of of TaeKwon-Do

Stettler’s Dual Dragons club, which includes Bashaw area athletes, set to compete Jan. 25

Revenue Canada, RCMP don’t accept Bitcoin: police

RCMP issue Bitcoin warning posters

Most Read