Story updated at 4:35 p.m. with additional info and content
Above: The City held a press briefing at 11 a.m. at City Hall. Above, the images of Theron Hogg on this media availability.
Lucie Roy Photos
Photos of Stephen Dafoe
Video by Theron Hogg
Morinville RCMP are investigating the fire that caused the complete destruction of Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church in Morinville.
The Morinville City Fire Department said a 9-11 call was received at 3:08 a.m. Wednesday morning, reporting a fire at the Morinville church. The sending time was 3:10 am with the Morinville fire department teams arriving at the scene at 3:20 am.
“Upon their arrival, the teams determined that the fire was already involved in the basement of the structure. Firefighters attempted to enter the building, but the building was laden with smoke and a collapse was already occurring, ”said a press release from the city.
Crews brought the blaze under control at 6:58 a.m., but the church was completely destroyed by the blaze. The teams stayed on site all day.
Equipment and personnel from Gibbons, Bon Accord, Legal, Sturgeon County, St. Albert and Edmonton assisted approximately 50 firefighters at the scene.
Neighboring buildings were saved, including the old convent building which suffered water and smoke damage. About fifty residents were evacuated and will remain outside the building for 48 hours. Many were taken to the Morinville Legion for shelter, water and food.
The investigation seeks the causes of the fire. An investigator is on the scene.
During an 11 a.m. press briefing, Mayor Barry Turner spoke about the loss of the historic church. This statement was released by the city on Tuesday evening.
“We can never replace what was lost here today,” Turner said. “Many thanks to the first responders who worked to keep our community safe. Our loss is enormous and could have been much worse except for the brave men and women who have answered the call. A sincere thank you to all our mutual aid partners who sent teams from all over the region, we are grateful for your support.
“I can’t describe the range of emotions we all feel today. The incredible shock and loss is overwhelming. Each of us must dig deep and find that seed of resilience and strength that resides within us. We will need each other to support us and our community. We will be strong together. I know what this community is made of and we are all stronger than we think.
“Many have already come forward and I cannot fully express gratitude for those who have responded by supporting our community and for those in need at this time. It is this resilience in the face of our loss that will unite us in our will to persevere, to recover and to rebuild.
“Tomorrow, the Morinville Community Cultural Center will be open from 10 am to 2 pm for all those who wish to come together and support each other in this terrible loss. Together we are stronger and together we will move forward.
Prime Minister Jason Kenney was accompanied by Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Kaycee Madu, Associate Minister of natural gas and electricity and Morinville-St. MLA Albert Dale Nally and Sturgeon River-Parkland MLA Dane Lloyd at a second press conference later in the morning.
In a social media post Tuesday afternoon, the Prime Minister wrote: “I visited the burnt down remains of Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church in Morinville to express my sadness and solidarity with the local community, Franco-Albertans and Catholics from across the province. .
“We must all reject acts of heinous violence where and when they occur. “
In Morinville, Kenney announced a doubling of Alberta’s security infrastructure program from $ 1 million to $ 2 million per year to “help protect churches and other targets from vandalism and hate violence.”
Kenney said he asked Minister Madu to work with ALERT and the province’s police chiefs to step up surveillance and protection of potential target sites.
Below, the Prime Minister’s video can be viewed on https://fb.watch/6sGoXW6T25/