A devastating blow hit Bashaw over the Thanksgiving long weekend.
Flames were spotted in the early hours of Oct. 9 that would eventually destroy the Bashaw Motor Inn alongside Highway 21, leaving three people injured and one deceased.
The Bashaw Fire Department were called to the scene shortly after 1 a.m. Thanksgiving Sunday, responding with all four pieces of apparatus. They were joined not long after by mutual aid partners from Maskwacis with one pumper unit and the entire fleet from the Mirror Fire Department, meaning there were more than 25 emergency personnel at the scene.
According to Bashaw’s deputy fire chief Jordan Lee, there wasn’t much that could be done other than attempt to put out the blaze and protect nearby structures.
“We responded to the scene of a large explosion and spent much of the night controlling the fire,” Lee stated.
“All of our members did an excellent job, along with the amazing support we received from both Mirror and Maskwacis as well as from the RCMP and EMS. We also want to thank the staff at Max’s Restaurant for providing coffee and food throughout the night.”
Due to the fatality, Bashaw RCMP with assistance from K Division’s special tactical operations unit, major crimes and other support units have been investigating. The RCMP have not yet determined a cause of the blaze or how the victim died. They indicated they still need to verify the victim’s identity, most likely through DNA.
Witnesses to the blaze stated they heard and felt an explosion and then ran to see the nearby motel up in flames. Residents also stated that police officers last week were going from door to door asking what they heard and saw around 9 p.m. on Oct. 8 as well as if they might have any other information relating to the fire.
In addition, RCMP were looking into racially-themed graffiti that was found, but media relations officer Sgt. Jack Poitras explained they believe there is no connection between the graffiti and the fire.
“It’s not the best case scenario, where everything is coming in fast,” he said concerning the speed of the investigation.
“While major crimes is involved, we simply want to rule out any possible connection.”
Police are still asking anyone with any information about how the graffiti got there and who might be responsible for it as well as any information regarding the cause of the fire is asked to contact the Bashaw RCMP detachment at (780) 372-3793 or if they wish to remain anonymous, call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).