pic-leask-fire-rcmp-2011

The flash from the explosion can be seen on the far right. ((RCMP))

The RCMP now says it was an explosion that started the fire which destroyed the 99-year-old hotel in Leask, Sask.

They're asking for the public's help in finding out who caused the Feb. 9 blaze that reduced the hotel overnight into a smoking pile of rubble.

On Monday, police released a series of photographs from surveillance video that they say show the explosion that ignited the fire.

Fire crews from Leask and surrounding communities rushed to the site at the centre of the village, but the wood-framed building burned quickly.

Police said they continue to examine footage obtained from several cameras in the area that captured the crime scene.

No one was hurt, although there was a resident of the hotel at the time of the fire who had to flee the building.

Leask is about 80 kilometres west of Prince Albert. 

Anyone with information is asked to call the Blaine Lake RCMP at 306-497-3600 or Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.