An historic, restored grain elevator that was months away from opening as a tourist attraction in Fleming, Sask., burned to the ground early Tuesday morning in what RCMP say is a suspicious fire.
The building, located not far from the Highway #1, was a complete loss.
According to locals, the structure dates to 1895 and is the oldest grain elevator in Canada still on its original site.
"The project which we had been working so hard and so long and this important piece of history for the province and Canada is no more," Philip Hamm, the mayor of Fleming, said Tuesday. "I just have to gather myself and come to terms with that."
The fire call went out at about 4 am CT Tuesday and crews from nearby Moosomin and Elk Horn responded.
RCMP say they believe the fire likely started sometime between 3 and 3:30 am, adding they were "currently treating this fire as suspicious".
"[I]f anyone has information on either a vehicle or person(s) being in the area of the grain elevator around this time we are asking you to provide your information to the police," the RCMP said in a media release.
The number, for Crime Stoppers tips, is 1-800-222-8477.
Fleming is about 240 kilometres east of Regina, not far from the provincial border with Manitoba.