leroy, sk

The community rink in Leroy, Saskatchewan, in the Quill Lakes district, burned to the ground in a devastating fire Friday.

There was no immediate confirmation on any injuries but preliminary word was that no one was in the building at the time of the fire.

Witnesses told CBC News that the fire quickly consumed the building and the structure collapsed in less than an hour.

Leroy has a population of around 425. It is about 130 kilometres east of Saskatoon.

The fire alarm in town sounded shortly after 7 p.m. CST.

Volunteer firefights from several communities joined in the effort to save the building, without success.

For a time some nearby houses were evacuated, as a precaution.

The loss of the building is a serious blow to the community, Dwight Bunyan, a member of the board that oversees the rink, told CBC News Friday.

"If you look at the people around that have grown up here and lived here all their lives ... the tears on their cheeks told the story," Bunyan said. "There's memories in that building that even if you build a new one, can't be replaced."

There was no immediate word on the cause of the fire and no other buildings were seriously damaged in the blaze although intense heat melted some siding on a few homes.

Fire crews from Leroy, Lanigan, Watson and Humboldt worked to contain the flames.

Bunyan said the town will have to look at the insurance policy to see what can be done.

He said if they can't afford to rebuild, local hockey teams will have to play games out of town.

"We're going to have to move our teams out of town," he said. ""There are three minor hockey teams that play there in the winter."