Firefighters put out blaze at funeral home

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INNISFAIL – Firefighters were called last week to put out a chimney fire at Heartland Funeral Services.

The fire at the funeral home, located at 4915 – 49 St., was reported to the Innisfail Fire Department at 5:36 p.m. on Dec. 11, said fire Chief Gary Leith.

He said when the 16 firefighters from four units arrived at the scene it was determined the fire involved a chimney issue with the crematorium.

“There was a breakdown there. A fire had developed within the roof space area,” said Leith, adding that was the area that had the chimney issue. “Because of the temperature (with) the furnace still on, obviously we had to call the utilities (personnel) in to make sure the gas was isolated, and the power was also to be isolated.

“Obviously it was significantly hot so the guys quickly got it under control,” said Leith.

He said there were no injuries to clients, staff or firefighters.

However, Leith added there was smoke damage to the rest of the building, including the client service and office areas. He said sections of the roof were removed to put out the fire, and they will have to be replaced.

He said firefighters remained on the scene until just before 10 p.m. to make sure the area was secure from further risk and damage. Leith said the scene was then handed back to the owners who had to deal with insurance issues to have the funeral home up and running as soon as possible.

He said last week he did not have a cost estimate for the damage but added there would be a “reasonable bill” for the insurance company to fix up the building.

“They (insurance) were there this morning to help them (owners) deal with the aftermath,” said Leith on Dec. 12.

Spokespeople for the funeral home were not immediately available to comment on the blaze.

Gary Leith, fire chief

“Because of the temperature (with) the furnace still on, obviously we had to call the utilities (personnel) in to make sure the gas was isolated and the power was also isolated.”

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Johnnie Bachusky

Johnnie Bachusky joined the Innisfail Province as editor in 2013. He covers Innisfail and Red Deer County news, police, crime and municipal politics. He is also a photographer and columnist.