BONNYVILLE – A fire that started in the early morning of June 1 is threatening to take down one of Bonnyville’s first operational hospitals, Duclos Hospital, now Duclos Arms. The fire is currently being considered suspicious at this time, according to the Regional Fire Chief.
At 3:30 a.m., crews from Station 5 Bonnyville responded to a structure fire at 4801–66 Street, at the west end of the town.
Firefighters arrived to find an active fire in the north side of the building, states Dan Heney, the regional fire chief of the Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority.
An hour later, Stations 7 Fort Kent and 8 Ardmore responded to support firefighting operations in crews ongoing effort to extinguish the fire.
The building has been vacant for about a year after Alberta Health Services (AHS) shut down the building operations due to failures in building’s safety codes around February of 2022, Joseph Kopala, the Town of Bonnyville’s Safety Codes Manager, told LakelandToday.ca.
The building has remained officially vacant since that time.
Duclos Arms was the Duclos Hospital for many years before it was rezoned as a bed and breakfast in the early 90s, explained Kopala.
Prior to the building being closed by AHS, the building operated more as a boarding house than a traditional bed and breakfast.
“Witnesses state that there were people in the area of the building prior to the fire, and it is being considered suspicious at this time,” Heney stated.
While witnesses have shared with fire crews that they believe people were using the vacant building, these reports have not been verified yet.
As crews are still on scene, the public is asked to stay out of the area to avoid traffic congestion.