Wood chips and a pile of scrap metal is what's left of the District of Clearwater's chip silo as an early morning fire broke out at the Dutch Lake Community Centre Saturday morning. The mayor said in a Facebook post the DOC does have a secondary heating system. (Stephanie Hagenaars photo)

Early morning fire takes Community Centre chip silo in Clearwater

The blaze was contained to the DLCC external heating system and corner of gym

A fire at the Dutch Lake Community Centre (DLCC) early Saturday morning took out the wood chip silo, but the damage to the building appears to be just superficial, thanks to quick action by the Clearwater Volunteer Fire Department and a call from a passerby.

Just before 4:00 a.m., the fire department received the call about the fire from someone who had driven past the building. Fire Chief, Mike Smith, noted a few of the members had driven past the DLCC on their way to the fire hall, and confirmed there were flames from the building.

The crew arrived on scene in approximately 10 minutes of being called and met the person on scene who made the call.

The fire was in the biomass chip silo and had just begun to take the roof off the gym. Two full crews battled the blaze, knocking it down with water, with their main focus to contain the fire and keep it from nearby structures, said Smith. They had it under control in about an hour and a half.

“Job well done by everybody, lots of hands on deck,” said Smith, noting BC Ambulance was on scene, as were the RCMP who directed traffic. Mayor Merlin Blackwell and DOC chief administrative officer, Leslie Groulx, and facilities manager, Roger Meyer, were also at the scene.

The Saturday morning farmers market was cancelled, but it is likely regular services will be open Monday morning, as there is a secondary heating system for the building, according to a post on Facebook from Blackwell.

“I thank our volunteer firefighters for their excellent work,” he wrote. “Thank you to Clearwater RCMP and our ambulance service for ensuring the safety of everyone on site.”

The investigation is ongoing into what started the fire.