Eco-Centre in Craik, Sask., destroyed by fire

The Craik, Sask., Eco-Centre has burned down.

Fire started Thursday morning

The Craik, Sask., Eco-Centre was destroyed by fire Thursday morning. (Kelly Taylor-Faye/Submitted to CBC)

The Craik, Sask., Eco-Centre has burned down. The fire was spotted Thursday morning and fire crews were dispatched to the centre around 9:30 a.m. CST.

Brent Kreuger lives about 500 meters from the Eco-Centre and saw the smoke in the morning.

"I saw white smoke coming off the top of the building and I thought someone had lit the fireplace," he said. "I saw no cars in the parking lot. I also noticed the smoke wasn't coming from the chimney. That's when I got worried. I called the city immediately to tell them the building was on fire."

When he got an answering machine, he called 911.

"All of a sudden, flames started shooting out of the roof," he recalled.

The building, which was constructed 12 years ago appeared to be a complete loss.

"The building is gone," Kreuger said. "Now it's a smoking pile of rubble."
Crews work on the destroyed Eco-Centre in Craik, Sask. (Kelly Taylor-Faye/Submitted to CBC)

Building highly recognized

The Eco-Centre has attracted attention from environmentalists around the country for its unique approach to building design and energy conservation.

The centre was also a way for the town to make a name for itself. It featured a composting septic system, timbers salvaged from old grain elevators and outer walls made from straw bales to provide natural insulation. It was also home to the Solar Garden restaurant.

"It's been a source of pride in many ways because it was very cutting edge," said David Ashdown, a member of Craik's town council. 

The restaurant, a pro-shop for golf and meeting rooms were among the building's amenities that were lost in the fire. The town has not yet made plans on next steps. 

"This is far too early to be speculating on how we're going to go forward," Ashdown said. "Right now we just need to mourn the loss of a really important facility."

Craik is 120 kilometres northwest of Regina.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is underway.

With files from CBC's Allan Pulga and CBC's Kathy Fitzpatrick

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