Fire claims old Hatchery building

StettlerLocal.com My 4, 2021 @ 8:24pm

A fire claimed the former Stettler Hatchery building, located on 49th Street, early Tuesday morning.


Fire crews arrived around 2 am, and were on the scene until nearly 1 pm today. Local restaurants reportedly provided a late lunch for the fire crews as they were finishing up.


Clint Kneeland, property owner, says that at this time, they are not sure what caused the fire. However, it appears the fire started near the south wall on the main floor. The flames traveled up the outer wall of the building, almost like a chimney, and quickly got into the building’s original flat roof, and continuing to climb up the peaked roof over top. The fire spread through the building stretching across the two empty apartments on the upper floor and the empty store space below.


Kneeland says the building has been empty for some time and that the building is occasionally broken into by squatters or vandals. The entry points are boarded up but eventually someone finds their way into the building again. Kneeland was told there did not appear to be any signs of a break in at the time of the blaze.


“We board up where people have gotten in, but eventually someone kicks a hole in it again, and sneaks in.” - Clint Kneeland.

Kneeland, who has owned the building since 1999, believes the Hatchery building was built sometime around the 1920’s. A couple years ago, the roof of the single floored face of the building collapsed and Kneeland had the extended segment removed. Prior to Kneeland owning the building Al Campbell was the owner and used the main space for storage for his furniture store that used to operate across the street.


After the fire was put out, Hansel’s Excavating was able to stay around and work with the property owners to demolish the building. The property owners hope to be able to haul the remnants of the 100 year old building away in the next day or two.


Carson Ellis, Reporter

StettlerLocal.com