'Devastating to the community': Gillam fire leaves town without recreation centre
'We're not anywhere in a location where we can drive 20 miles down the road to use someone else's rink': CAO
People in the northern Manitoba community of Gillam are in shock after a massive fire raged through their community centre Wednesday.
The fire started around 4:30 p.m. in the building, which was under renovation, and forced the evacuation of several homes.
No one was inside the centre when it caught fire, and no one was hurt in the blaze, said Jackie Clayton, Gillam's CAO.
The office of the fire commissioner will investigate the cause, but as of Thursday morning an investigator had yet to arrive in the community, 737 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.
This past spring, all the books from the library and the ice from the arena had been removed prior to the major renovation, which saw parts of the building taken back to the studs.
"It was basically a shell — parts of the building had been removed. So we were hoping to maybe be able to get into the ice area this year to use it for the winter so that we could have some skating and curling, but that's not going to happen now," Clayton said.
The renovation of the centre was supposed to be complete in 2018, but given the extent of the damage it may be 2019 or 2020 before it is able to open, she said.
"We're sitting in limbo. We're just trying to figure out what our next steps are going to be."