ACE administrator Sandy Balascak speaks with Fire Chief Wayne Dyer as crews survey the gas meter at the back of the school. Dyer said the fire is being treated as a set fire.

Fire at Agassiz school suspicious

Gas meter set on fire intentionally, officials say

  • Thu May 17th, 2012 1:00pm
  • News

A fire at an Agassiz school could have had devastating results, officials said. The fire broke out at about 8:25 a.m. Tuesday at the back of the ACE building. All of the students were in the school when flames and smoke was spotted by staff.

It was coming from the school’s gas meter, attached to the back of the building.

Everyone was evacuated and the school’s administrator, Sandy Balascak, grabbed a large sack of pancake mix to quickly put out the flames.

If the fire hadn’t been noticed so quickly, the fire could have had a very different outcome, said Fire Chief Wayne Dyer.

“There could have been flames 30 feet into the air,” he said, and a massive evacuation of the surrounding area, including municipal hall, AESS and some businesses.

“This was a set fire,” he said, and he is working with Agassiz RCMP to determine who could have set it.

The ACE students were moved to the Agassiz Library for the morning, while the Safety Authority, fire department, police and others assessed the situation. They were moved back into the school after the lunch hour. Anyone with any information can call the RCMP or the Agassiz Fire Department.

It’s been a busy week for the fire department, in addition to the fire at ACE. On May 11, they responded to a crash between a motorcycle and a vehicle on Rockwell Drive. The victim in that crash was transported to hospital via ambulance.

There was a false alarm at an apartment on May 12, causing unneeded cost of resources by the fire department. Also on that day, a woman fell asleep at the wheel near the old Kent Hotel site. She drove off the road, through a fence and into field.

And on May 14, they responded to a call when a bailer caught fire at a farm on Lougheed Hwy.

The driver noticed smoke coming from the bailer, and quickly disconnected the machinery from the tractor and called 911.

news@ahobserver.com