The inferno that consumed the old ice rink in Kindersley, Sask., on Friday did not spread to an attached new complex, thanks to a daring tactic used by a firefighter with heavy-equipment experience.
The Kindersley fire broke out Friday morning and quickly threatened both the old and new structures, which are connected by a shared lobby.
Firefighters said to save the new complex, a multimillion-dollar hockey and curling arena, they decided to tear down the lobby with some heavy equipment on hand.
"One of my firefighters is an operator of that track hoe," Ron Hope, chief of the volunteer fire department explained to CBC News.
"We just got him in there and kept a number of water lines in there protecting him and let him work his way through. It's a tactic we have used before, and it works well for us."
Devin Lyons operated the machinery, which is has a large scooping arm that can quickly tear down a building.
"I had one guy on the radio that was directing me," Lyons said. "I basically just dug my way through the burning building.
"There was flames pretty much on both sides for a little while, but you work your way in cautiously and try and clear the stuff on the way so you're not driving on anything that's actually burning," he added. "You're clearing the building around you to get in."
Lyons was protected from the flames, tucked inside the operating cab of the machine as he tore down the lobby's walls and ceiling.
The dramatic move worked and the new complex, which was affected by smoke and water, was still intact after the fire was brought under control.
The Kindersley fire department was assisted by crews from nearby Eatonia, Eston and Kerrobert. There were more than 60 firefighters working the site.
The intensity of the fire resulted in some nearby homes and businesses suffering heat damage, RCMP said.
A truck also caught fire because of falling embers from the blaze.
Officials said the cause of the fire had been identified, although they did not provide specifics. They said it was not arson. No one was hurt in the fire.
Kindersley is a community of 4,400 in west-central Saskatchewan.