CHERRY GROVE - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Cherry Grove has been reduced to rubble following a devastating fire overnight.
Firefighters from Cold Lake, Bonnyville, La Corey, and Iron River were called to Cherry Grove in the early morning hours of April 28.
According to Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority (BRFA) Regional Fire Chief Dan Heney, a 911 call was made around 3:20 a.m. to report the fire.
Station 9 Cold Lake responded with three pumpers, a tanker, and a ladder truck. At around 4 a.m., Heney received a call from the Cold Lake Fire Chief for assistance, according to information from the MD of Bonnyville.
Tankers from Bonnyville, La Corey, and Iron River were called to the scene to help.
The fire chief said he received a report that the church was fully involved, with the fire breaking through the roof.
“It’s a complete loss."
While crews were on scene, RCMP members attending the scene came across a second fire at the Cherry Grove Canada Post office. RCMP put out the fire before it could cause significant damage.
Both fires are considered suspicious in nature and are under investigation.
“We found some evidence on site that makes the fire very suspicious,” said Heney. “And the way the fire was acting also indicates it’s suspicious.”
MD of Bonnyville Reeve Barry Kalinski acknowledged the fire was a "devastating loss, especially knowing the high possibility both were set deliberately."
Anyone with information about either fire is asked to contact the Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority at 780-826-4755.
“Our prayers and sympathies are with the community in Cherry Grove," said the reeve.
Cold Lake RCMP also confirmed they attended the fires in Cherry Grove, in the early morning hours of April 28.
"Upon arrival, police found the church fully engulfed in flames. Based on initial investigation, the fire is being considered suspicious at this time," according to RCMP.
Police are asking anyone within the Hamlet of Cherry Grove who may have information about the fire, or any video surveillance of the early morning hours of April 28, especially in the areas of 50 Street, 50 Avenue, and Pine Drive, to please contact the Cold Lake RCMP at 780-594-3302 or your local police.
More to come...