Brian Zinchuk is editor and owner of Pipeline Online
ALIDA – A fire consumed an oilfield service company shop and its contents in Alida on Saturday, Jan. 8, but there were no injuries as a result of the fire. Some firefighters did get frostbitten, however.
The Gold Star Service Inc. shop caught fire around 10 to 10:30 a.m.
Gold Star’s principal work is lease maintenance, which includes snow removal, septic service, sand and gravel. In the summer they also mow leases.
Gold Star owner Lloyd East said on Jan. 10 that a worker in the shop was “side grinding, and foam insulation caught fire. They couldn’t get it out.”
“I lost about $2 million,” he said, noting it was not insured. “I couldn’t afford it. I checked it out 10 years ago, and I thought it was too much for what I had.”
He said the worker was instructed not to grind near that wall. “There was only one person, working by himself,” East said.
East said he lost a semi tractor unit, payloader, a tractor with a snowblower on it and a four-wheel drive tractor with a blade on it.
The company operates about 10 or 12 trucks, he said. But the snow removal equipment is the equipment he’s using right now. “It could have been worse,” East said, noting he had other equipment, like his septic truck, out working at the time.
“When I got there, there was smoke coming out of the roof, so I knew it was gone right away. There was nothing you could do but let it burn,” East said.
The local Alida and RM of Reciprocity Fire Department responded.
Alida fire chief and EMO coordinator Jaye Lemieux said on Jan. 10 they had a dozen or so members of their department attend the Jan. 8 fire. Since it was a commercial and industrial fire they called in Carnduff and RM of Mount Pleasant Fire and Rescue as part of a mutual aid agreement.
“We always like to go with mutual aid agreements that we have, and we do quite a few calls with Carnduff Fire Department. We do lots of training with them. So, we’re really familiar with each other and work together.”
While the cause of the fire is a preliminary determination at this time, Lemieux said, “We think the fire was caused from a welding and grinding operation going on. It caught some insulation on fire.
“But until a fire inspector does their thing, that’s not my place to determine,” he said. “That would be our preliminary determination.”
He expressed thanks to Carnduff and the local department for responding. “I don’t think most people realize that all the department have mutual aid agreements with each other, and we all train with each other. We’re all volunteers. When something goes wrong in one town, everybody kind of tries to come to help.”
Kris Carley, deputy fire chief with Carnduff and RM of Mount Pleasant Fire and Rescue, said they responded with four trucks and about 14 firefighters.
When they got there, he said, “It was fully involved inside.”
It was a frigid day. “Really cold. Everything froze up cold. But we got them pumping. I looked, it was minus 24 with a minus 37 wind chill partway through.”
They were present for about five hours. While there were no injuries or loss of life from the fire, Carley said some firefighters did get frostbite.
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