Leslieville Elks Club members are “saddened” but determined to rebuild their hall after it was destroyed by arson.
“We are a strong club within a strong community,” said the club in a statement released Friday. “This fire will set us back a few steps, but we are hoping to rebuild and continue on as we always have.”
“Our members have been humbled by the kind words and offers of help. Each one is respected and appreciated.”
The club asks those offering financial and other aid to be patient while the club works through the insurance process and determines its next course of action.
“At this time we do not wish to comment on the arson or investigation,” said the club, which has about 50 members. “We will leave that in the hands that are capable.”
The fire was spotted by a resident and called in around 7 p.m. Dec. 29.
Thirty-three volunteer firefighters, from four different fire stations, battled the blaze in -42 C conditions, but the 70-year-old historic hall could not be saved.
The Elks say they are grateful no one was hurt or left homeless by the blaze.
They thanked firefighters, emergency crews and all others who fought the fire, as well as local people and businesses who helped keep firefighters warm.
Losing the hall was a blow, but the Elks said they are “more saddened by the loss of precious memorabilia and artifacts contained within the building.
“Some items such as photos, elk mounts and medallions were as old as our club. Memories made in our building are countless.”
Gratitude was expressed towards the Leslieville Community Centre, where the Elks will hold their meetings until they get a new home.
Police confirmed a person of interest has been identified. RCMP continue to look for more witnesses to the incident.
Hooterville Hilton Cafe in Leslieville will host an Elks Hall benefit auction and dance at the Leslieville Community Centre Feb. 3. For more information call Theresa at 403-844-6297 or 403-729-2187 or Juanita 403-844-3257.
If you have any information about the investigation, contact the Rocky Mountain House RCMP at 403-845-2882.