Archerwill fire department out of operation after blaze inside fire hall

Photo courtesy of RM of Barrier Valley. The burned out interior of Archerwill fire hall is waiting for three replacement fire trucks and new equipment.

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,

ARCHERWILL – The Village of Archerwill, population 153, will be without their fire department for the unforeseen future due to a fire that occurred in their fire hall on Feb. 17.

Firefighting equipment, fire suits, PPE inside the building and three fire trucks were all part of the loss. 

Fire Chief Steven Christianson said on Feb. 17 the Archerwill skating rink was hosting an annual tournament when many in the community found that they had no water. Upon further investigation, the fire hall was found to be on fire. 

Christianson said the fire started in the wildland truck. A waterline that was above the truck limited the damages to the building. Unfortunately, the fire caused all three fire trucks — a 2008 Ford F350, 1992 Sutphen pumper fire truck and a 1979 IHC tank fire truck — are a complete loss due to the amount of smoke within the building. Christianson said they also lost all of their personal protective equipment, all their fire suits and self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBA) — everything inside the fire hall.

Glenda Smith, administrator for the RM of Barrier Valley, said that all the equipment within the fire hall was a total loss. At this point, the total cost of the loss is unknown. 

She pointed out it is a good reminder for municipalities to review their insurance coverage and ensure they have the coverage your fire department needs. 

The Archerwill Fire Department serves the Village of Archerwill and surrounding RM) of Barrier Valley. The fire departments of Tisdale and Rose Valley are covering the area until the Archerwill Fire Department becomes operational again. 

The RM of Barrier Valley just announced a complete fire ban on April 22 due to the Archerwill Fire Department not having a fire truck or personal safety equipment for their volunteers.

Christianson said they are ways away from being back in service anytime soon. They are currently finding replacement fire trucks. Christianson said they found a replacement wildland truck and it is en route but the replacement of all their fire gear, PPE and SCBA’s will take time. The Archerwill Fire Department usually responds to 10 to 15 calls annually.