LOOKBACK: Fire leaves family homeless just before Yule

Volunteer fire departments throughout Alberta were being stretched to their limits, with calls increasing at the same time the number of volunteers is dropping. Olds Fire Chief Lorne Thompson said a lot of volunteer firefighters expected to fight fires in their community and then end up also having to help with motor vehicle collisions that could be very traumatic.

ONE YEAR AGO

• Volunteer fire departments throughout Alberta were being stretched to their limits, with calls increasing at the same time the number of volunteers is dropping. Olds Fire Chief Lorne Thompson said a lot of volunteer firefighters expected to fight fires in their community and then end up also having to help with motor vehicle collisions that could be very traumatic.

• A family of seven in Mirror was not sure where they were going to sleep, let alone how they are going to celebrate Christmas, after their house was destroyed by fire. Thiesmann said smoke detectors woke his wife Delailah around 6 a.m. She saw a fire in the kitchen, called 911 and quickly got her five children between the ages of 14 and one month safely out of the house.

FIVE YEARS AGO

• The Olds-based Wild Horses of Alberta Society offered a $500 reward for information leading to the identification of the culprit in the latest killing in the West Country. Bob and Doreen Henderson discovered ravens picking the dead remains of three of horses, including foals. The horses appeared to have been shot and left to rot about two weeks earlier.

• The city announced it had hired Craig Curtis as the new city manager. Curtis, city manager of Owen Sound, Ont., had served as Community Services Department director with the city before heading east in 1995. Curtis took over duties from Norbert Van Wyk, who retired.

10 YEARS AGO

• It was an award the former Red Deer MLA probably didn’t want to win, as Stockwell Day was named Canadian Newsmaker of the Year following his brief but tumultuous leadership of the Canadian Alliance party. The award was determined by a survey of editors of the Canadian Press and Broadcast News.

• For once it wasn’t a winter storm to blame for a mid-winter highway accident. About 12 vehicles piled up on Hwy 2 near Ponoka as a result of blinding smoke from a controlled burn near the highway.

25 YEARS AGO

• Three supermarket chains opened here Sunday for the first time, joining five others that have been open weekends for years. Woodwards’ Food Floor in Bower Place Shopping Centre and Safeway stores in Port O’Call Shopping Centre and Parkland Mall pleased many shoppers by opening their doors.

50 YEARS AGO

• Central Albertans have their thoughts focused on a Merry Christmas. They plan a pleasant and restful Christmas weekend of paying homage to Christ the Child, of enjoying family reunions, exchanging gifts, feasting and relaxing. Thousands of employees in the city and district will have from two to four days away from their regular work, and even most farmers will be able to lighten their chores to enjoy at least the first half of the festive season more fully.

• A rather startling figure of $10,000,000 in new construction and major renovations for the city of Red Deer in 1961 is revealed in a survey of buildings completed during the year. This includes dwellings, apartments, commercial and industrial enterprises and institutional establishments The $10,000,000 exceeds the official building permits of around $7,000,000 because of work completed on permits taken out in 1960 such as the Hudson’s Bay store.

90 YEARS AGO

• An ad for shoppers: ‘Armbands, garters, tie clips, belts, cufflinks and many other useful articles for practical gift giving and here for you to choose from. All at The W.E. Lord Co. Ltd., Red Deer, Alberta. It Pays to Pay Cash.

100 YEARS AGO

• No. 1 red wheat sold for 62 cents per bushel while barley went for 34 to 40 cents per bushel.

• Penhold U.F.A. elected T.P. Parcels president and A. Speakman as secretary.