An investigation is underway into the cause of two fires late Tuesday afternoon in Pincher Creek.
The blazes, reported just minutes apart, happened at a home in the 600-block of Adelaide Street and a business at the corner of East Avenue and Kettles Street.
“This one [Dano’s Hydro Heaven] was our first reported structure fire on which we received multiple call-ins,” explained fire Chief Pat Neumann Tuesday evening. “As we arrived on scene, we got reports of a second structure fire.”
Officials are looking into a possible connection.
While more details are expected in the coming days, Neumann confirmed the first 911 calls of the downtown blaze came in at about 5:05 p.m.
Smoke and, eventually, flames could be seen coming from the building following a large blast that buckled its west wall. This gained the attention of people at nearby businesses, including staff at Canada Post, and those walking in the area.
Neumann said Pincher Creek Emergency Services crews from Pincher Creek, Beaver Mines and Lundbreck were called out. Mutual aid was also provided on the house fire by Cowley Fire Rescue, while paramedics from Pincher Creek and Peigan District Ambulance Service in Brocket were dispatched to administer medical aid.
RCMP from Pincher Creek and the Piikani Nation were also at the scene of both fires to help with traffic control.
Witnesses report seeing a handcuffed male inside a police cruiser near the Adelaide Street blaze, but authorities have yet to confirm if the person or persons responsible have been taken into custody.
Both structures were completely destroyed and, at this point, it’s too early to determine the cost of damage in either case.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.