The Town of Bentley’s grain elevator was destroyed by a large fire in the early hours of Friday morning.
At about 1:30 a.m., the Bentley Fire Department and Lacombe Fire Department responded to the blaze at the “iconic” grain elevator, the town said in a statement.
The fire quickly engulfed the grain elevator and firefighting efforts focused on containment to ensure no additional spread to the community and other buildings.
“It was kind of a centre of our community,” Mayor Greg Rathjen told The Advocate on Friday.
“We did our drive-in show on the elevator, our car show was always in front of it. There were a lot of community events that were held there. This is going to have an impact on our community.
“It’s a historical place and it’s going to be missed.”
Signs for the Town of Bentley that were recently put up on Highway 12 and Highway 20 feature the grain elevator. Rathjen estimated the structure had been standing for 70-plus years.
“It’s been here a long, long time. We had another one that we lost in the 1980s or 1970s,” Rathjen said.
In its statement issued Friday, the town asked community members to conserve water usage as much as possible to support containment efforts.
“The large fire has continued to utilize significant water volumes and we need your support to ensure that the fire department can continue its efforts without interruption,” said the statement that was issued at about 9 a.m.
“It is anticipated the fire will continue to burn for some time. This is an unfortunate event; we appreciate your co-operation in minimizing water usage to assist the continued fire department effort.”
The cause of the fire is not known at this time.
Rathjen praised the fire crews from Bentley and Lacombe.
“They had a big ladder truck from Lacombe. There were a lot of people involved. It’s been kept safe. They worked very hard during a cold, cold night,” he said.