Derelict motel now a pile of rubble: who cleans it up?

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

The Lakeside Motor Inn is one of a couple of ‘eyesore’ properties in Slave Lake. The Town of Slave Lake (and others) has been wishing for some time the owners would do something about it.

Maybe now they will. Due to a fire that broke out on the night of March 10, the majority of the motel is now a pile of debris. One smaller, detached unit still stands.

Due to the nature of the fire and the state of the building, firefighters didn’t waste any time or endanger themselves trying to save anything.

“We put it in a pile so we could control it,” says fire chief Jamie Coutts.

Coutts says the circumstances were such that finding and putting out hot spots would have been tough and dangerous. Although the main part of the fire was in the corner of the ‘ell’ of the building, it was spreading through the entire roof of the structure, thanks to no fire stops.

“Smoke was pouring out of both gable ends,” Coutts says.

The call to the fire department came in at 10:30 p.m.

“It was really burning before we got called,” Coutts says. “The whole roof structure was on fire.”

Six trucks from three fire halls responded.

The motel has been shut down for several years, following the destruction of the northern part of it in a fire. For a time it was fenced off, as if in preparation for demolition, but that didn’t happen. The town’s planning department says it has heard in the past few days from someone inquiring about a demolition permit.

As for the cause of the fire, Coutts says nobody knows and probably nobody is going to find out. That would be nobody in authority. Possibly somebody knows what happened. There was no gas or electricity to the building, says Coutts, so that can be ruled out.

Photo courtesy Regional Fire Service
Will the Lakeside Motor Inn (what’s left of it) be cleaned up quicker now that it is in the pictured condition?

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