The Seventh Day Adventist Church on 98 Ave in Peace River and a house next to it burned down in the early hours of July 3.
The fire department got the call at about 3 a.m. and both buildings were on fire by the time firefighters responded.
“It was a very old building, it burned very quickly,” Peace River Fire Chief Tim Harris says. “The wood is so old and dry, once it gets going it’s gone very quickly and gives off a lot of heat.”
The two structure fires were so hot they broke windows in offices across the street, and burned the leaves and trunks of nearby trees.
Fire departments from Weberville and Northern Sunrise Country also responded, with about 20 firefighters total ensuring the blaze did not spread to nearby buildings. Chief Harris says the church had recently been renovated.
The Community Futures office next to the church did not burn down in part because the building is made of brick.
“That’s what saved us,” says Community Futures general manager Randy Hodgkinson, who also credited firefighters for working to keep the building safe.
Hodginkinson says three families lived in the home next to the church, and that everyone got out safely.
An investigation into the cause of the blaze is underway.