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A fire that swept through a Kindersley skating rink Friday morning damaged houses and buildings in the surrounding area, although no one was seriously hurt, police said. ((Colin Bevan/Kindersley Airspray))

A massive fire has destroyed a skating rink in Kindersley in west-central Saskatchewan.

Dozens of firefighters who converged on the scene Friday morning managed to save the adjoining arena where the provincial women's curling championship is taking place.

The arena was separated from the burning wooden structure by a firewall but was still damaged by water, smoke and flames.

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The old skating rink in Kindersley, Sask. on Friday was a 60-year-old wooden structure, local residents said. ((Submitted by Brian Ward))

First reports of the fire came in around 10 a.m., and a state of emergency was soon declared in the community of about 4,400. Officials ordered everyone out of the rink, curling complex and nearby homes.

No one was seriously injured, the RCMP said, but ambulance crews were on hand to help anyone suffering from exposure to the cold.

Hundreds of people were forced out into the –20 C temperatures. Two schools were also evacuated and parents were told to pick up their children at a safe location.

About 60 firefighters from Kindersley, Eatonia, Eston and Kerrobert fought the blaze. After several hours, the fire was out.

Numerous vehicles and homes around the arena sustained broken windows and paint damage, the RCMP said. A truck burned after embers ignited flammable items it was carrying.

 

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Thick smoke filled the skies above Kindersley, Sask., as 60 firefighters fought the fire the destroyed a skating rink. ((Colin Bevan/Kindersley Airspray))

Among those watching in alarm was Stu Hayward, whose house is across the street from the rink. The longtime resident said he had always wondered what might happen if the rink caught fire.

"It's a wood structure," he said. "It was built probably in about 1949, so it certainly was all dry and subject to fire."The Saskatchewan Curling Association met to determine how to proceed with the curling championship and later decided to move the competition to nearby Eston.

Residents forced out of their homes can't return until late Friday because of smouldering patches and possible embers, the RCMP said.