Cranbrook Fire and Emergency Services responded to a structure fire at Fort Steele on Sunday evening. Mike Turner photo.

Cranbrook Fire and Emergency Services responded to a structure fire at Fort Steele on Sunday evening. Mike Turner photo.

Cranbrook firefighters respond to Fort Steele structure fire

No evidence to indicate the nearby prescribed burn was a factor, says fire chief

Cranbrook firefighters extinguished a fire at the admissions building at Fort Steele Heritage Town on Sunday evening, with aid from local concerned citizens.

Scott Driver, Director of Cranbrook Fire and Emergency Services, said six firefighters and three apparatus were called to the scene at approximately 6:30 p.m.

The fire was contained to an exterior wing of the building as an interior sprinkler system was able to keep the flames at bay until firefighters arrived to fully knock the blaze down.

“The sprinklers were holding the fire from moving throughout the building, but the fire was quite aggressive on the exterior of the building,” said Driver.

“…Once it was safe to safe to do so, we made entry and ensured that it wasn’t extending through the building and the sprinklers were doing their job so it wasn’t.”

The cause of the fire is under RCMP investigation, however, Driver unequivocally confirmed that the prescribed burn on the other side of the Kootenay River was not a factor.

“There is absolutely no indication that the fire was caused by anything offsite,” Driver said.

In terms of heritage value, the admissions building — which includes a cafe and gift shop — is not a heritage structure though it serves as the public entrance to the townsite.

Driver also acknowledged assistance from area citizens; one drove a fully loaded water truck from Cranbrook to Fort Steele to help out, while others who live in the area or came off the highway helped calm the horses and livestock that were agitated by the fire.

“We didn’t need the help but it was really neat to see that the community, that people in Cranbrook and the area, value Fort Steele enough that they were just willing to do whatever it took, so I’m thankful for that,” Driver said.

No other properties were affected by the fire, nor were there any injuries to any of the animals and livestock, according to an update from Fort Steele Heritage Town.

The Fort will continue to operate on normal hours, while public access will be through a gate adjacent to the building.

“We wish to extend our deep gratitude to Cranbrook Fire Services, Cranbrook RCMP, BC Ambulance and BC Hydro personnel for their response to the fire and helping to contain the damage,” reads the update. “We also wish to thank all the many concerned individuals who have contacted us to offer assistance. Your support is sincerely appreciated by board and staff and is indicative of that wonderful sense of community that makes so many love Fort Steele Heritage Town.”