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Fire destroys 100-year-old church in Fort Chipewyan

Last Updated Aug 25, 2022 at 1:13 pm MDT

FILE - An Alberta RCMP cruiser. (Tom Ross, CityNews Photo) 2022/03/P1120608-scaled.jpg 2022/03/P1120608-scaled.jpg 2022/03/P1120608-scaled.jpg

An investigation is underway into a early morning church fire in Fort Chipewyan.

On Aug. 25, 2022, at 2:34 a.m., RCMP received to a report of a fire at the Blessed Virgin Roman Catholic Church.

Emergency crews responded to the 100-year-old structure off Mackenzie Ave.

“Local fire responded and with the assistance of RCMP, and Alberta Forestry, were able to contain the fire without spread to nearby buildings and the community itself. Unfortunately, the Church itself is a total loss.”

RCMP said an investigation has begun into what caused the fire.

The Fort McMurray Catholic School Division (FMCSD) issued a statement following the incident.

“We pray for those who have lost their meeting place and hope they are able to find fellowship and spiritual comfort in other ways during this time of transition. We pray the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Catholic Church will be rebuilt and restored so the Catholic community can continue to gather and celebrate in community.”

Also known as the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, it’s one of the oldest churches in Alberta.

A statement from the RMWB detailed an incident in the emergency response.

“During the response, a fire department pumper truck enroute to the scene left the road and rolled over. The operator experienced minor injuries as a result and this is the only injury reported.”

Regional Emergency Services will assist in the investigation.

According to the Historic Places website, the church was built in 1909, and is known for its ornate interior paintings and decorative exterior.