The cause of the fire at Family Meats Ltd.’s in Ponoka’s industrial park that started on Dec. 1 was still being determined Dec. 2, but what is certain is that the fire resulted in a total loss of the building. Photos by Emily Jaycox

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

Fire burned through the night

Family Meats Ltd.’s slaughter plant in the Ponoka 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 returned 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

Non-profits that are helping people impacted by COVID-19 can apply for relief funding

Red Deer and District FCSS can draw from a provincial pot of $30 million

No Alberta renter will be evicted for non-payment on April 1, promises the premier

No evictions during the entire Alberta public health emergency

Opening Red Deer’s safe consumption site would reduce strain on system during COVID-19, says advocate

Alberta should give also give addicts clean drugs, added Deborah Watson

UPDATED: How the coronavirus is impacting the Ponoka area

Precautions, advisories, and cancelled community events

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

Families urge action to get Canadians home from cruise ship stuck off Panama

1,243 passengers and 586 crew on board and more tests are being done every day

Canada could face legal trouble over refugee deportations: advocates

Deputy Prime Minister Freeland holding ‘urgent’ discussions with U.S. officials

Regions brace to fight rising flood waters and cases of COVID-19

Pontiac is one of dozens of flood-prone regions bracing for the possibility of rising waters

Most Read