A historic hotel in Mirror, a hamlet located 42 kilometres east of Lacombe, burned to the ground on Sunday evening.
Lacombe County Fire Chief Todd Gustafson said the Mirror Fire Department was called out to a structure fire at the former Imperial Mirror Hotel, located along 54th St., shortly after 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 28th.
When crews arrived on the scene the second and third storeys of the over a century-old building were fully engulfed in flames.
“As soon as the call came in, they (the Mirror Fire Department) immediately called for mutual aid, as per our protocol,”said Gustafson.
The Alix Fire Department, Clive Fire Department, Bashaw Fire Department and Lacombe Fire Department were all called to assist as mutual aid partners. Crews battled the blaze for several hours before it was deemed to be under control shortly before midnight.
Gustafson said the fire operation was ‘strictly’ defensive from the start, with concerns directed at eliminating any exposures to surrounding structures.
“Fortunately, the winds blowing came from the east, which directed away from any potential exposures,” he said. “There was a shop that was 25-feet away from the structure, so to save that piece is pretty impressive.”
Crews dealt with some freezing issues and did need to shuttle water in from Alix to supplement the hydrant system in Mirror.
Crews remained on scene until approximately 4:30 a.m. Monday morning.
Later that morning one of the smoldering piles reignited, requiring the fire department to return to the scene a few hours later along with a track hoe.
Smoke was still visible in the hamlet as the Mirror Fire Department crew worked on putting out hot spots with water and the track hoe pulled apart pieces of the destroyed structure.
The building had been vacant for several years.
According to the history book Land of the Lakes: A Story of the Settlement and Development of the Country West of Buffalo Lake, the Imperial Mirror Hotel was constructed in the newly minted railroad village around 1912. The Imperial Hotel was listed as being constructed by G. T. Cook shortly after the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company built a rail line through the village, establishing Mirror.
The cause of the fire is unknown at the time of publication. The fire remains under investigation.