A late Sunday evening fire that engulfed one of the hangars at the Lacombe Regional Airport took three planes with it, and cost an estimated $1-million in damages.
Lacombe and Blackfalds fire crews were called to the scene around 7:40 p.m. and arrived around 8 p.m. Sunday evening, according to Lacombe Flying Club President Jon Fromm. Fromm said he learned of the fire from his son, who was working in the Cloud 9 Aviation hangar next door, on the airport’s west side.
“He and a friend were in the hangar and they went outside and smelled smoke and saw it coming out of the hangar next door,” said Fromm. “His friend called 9-1-1 and my son called me….It was a really long night.”
The fire happened about two hours after a thunderstorm ripped through the community. According to Fromm, the hangar’s owner had been in the hangar during the storm, but left once it passed over. Less than an hour later, the hangar was on fire.
No one was inside at the time of the fire, and as such, no injuries.
However, three small aircraft – two twin engines and a single engine – were lost, along with the hangar itself, but the fire was contained to a single building.
In an early-morning update posted to Facebook, Fromm said the owner of the hangar and airplanes does have insurance, however, said nothing was lost that couldn’t be replaced.
“Yes three airplanes were lost, along with other objects, but nothing that can’t be replaced,” he said. “On behalf the Lacombe Flying Club, I would like to thank the Lacombe and Blackfalds Fire Departments, Lacombe Police Service and EMS for their prompt response and diligent efforts.”
The cause of the fire is unknown and investigators were on the scene Monday morning working to determine the cause, however, it is not considered to be criminal.
It is the first fire to destroy a hangar at the airport.
“Hopefully it doesn’t happen again,” Fromm said.
The airport, which was recently given its regional status to help promote the facility as an airport for all, sees an estimated 10-12,000 movements annually. It’s mostly used by recreational travelers and pilots, however is also used by STARS Air Ambulance, Alberta Health Services Medi-Vac, RCMP, Civil Air Search and Rescue, and business flights.
It is entirely run by Lacombe Flying Club volunteers.