Saskatchewan

Huge blaze destroys Regina heritage building

A massive fire has destroyed a historic building at Regina's exhibition grounds.

A massive fire has destroyed a historic building at Regina's exhibition grounds.

The blaze early Sunday on the grounds known as Evraz Place burned the Grain Show Building to the ground. It was the second time in the past year the heritage building has been hit by fire.

It was built in the 1930s and rebuilt in the '50s after getting damaged in another fire.

The most recent major fire before Sunday's blaze was last October, although the one on the weekend, which started around 6:30 a.m., was more destructive.

"Virtually anywhere in Regina would have been able to see the heavy black smoke conditions here," Regina fire department spokesman Grant Nicurity said. "So probably for about a half-hour time frame, it was a very very large volume of fire."

Flames were at least 18 metres in the air, Nicurity said.

Fire engines parked a block away were hot to the touch from the radiant heat. Crews sprayed water on the blaze and worked to protect the surrounding buildings.

Later in the morning, the Grain Show Building collapsed. No one was injured. It was almost empty, except for a few half-ton trucks parked inside.

It could have been worse, Nicurity said.

"We're very fortunate that the wind was coming from the southeast to the northwest as opposed to the northwest to the southwest as it typically does, or we would have had some issues to deal with the Fieldhouse and the Lawson pool building here."

The building was constructed to house exhibits at the World Grain Show, held at the Regina Exhibition in 1933.

After the grain show, the building served for many years as the home of the well-known Caledonian Curling Club.

The "Callie," which has since moved, was home to many outstanding curlers, including the Marj Mitchell rink and the Olympic-gold medal winning Sandra Schmirler rink.

In recent years, the building has been used as a storage space to house items from the Agribition agricultural show.

It had been among a number of buildings slated for the wrecking ball to make way for a multimillion-dollar overhaul at Evraz Place.

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