Fire destroys one of Torquay’s grain elevators

One of the most well-known and visible landmarks in Torquay was destroyed by a fire last week.

The grain elevator at the east end of the village went up in flames early on Nov. 4. Members of the Torquay Fire Department and the Estevan Fire Rescue Service, along with area farmers, spent several hours at the scene.

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The wind was blowing out of the west that night, so the flames and the smoke were not blowing towards the village. The fire caused some damage to surrounding fields, but not to houses and other buildings. Another grain elevator to the west also was not damaged.

Torquay resident Norma Patton filmed a portion of the fire and posted the footage to her Facebook page. The video and her photos have since gone viral.

She noted that just after 1 a.m. on Nov. 4, her husband saw on Facebook that a friend of theirs had a message that one of the grain elevators was on fire.

“We looked outside and just saw that there was a big glow over the town. But we couldn’t see where the fire was coming from, where we lived, because we live on Miller Avenue, which is the south side of town.”

Patton drove to an area about half a kilometre away from the fire site, where she captured the video and took some of the pictures. She also photographed the cleanup that ensued.

She said she was surprised at how large the fire was, and she’s also surprised at how much attention her videos and photos received.

“I knew that at 1:30 in the morning, most people in the area were in bed sleeping. I figured most people in this town and anywhere else would not have seen it. And I just love taking pictures.”

But most of all, she is glad that the wind was blowing the right direction that night, and she’s pleased there are so many dedicated firefighters and farmers in the area who are willing to lend a helping hand. 

“I could tell from my view that they just basically stayed back … and made sure that nowhere else was burning. If the grass was burning, they would go over in those directions and have that under control so that the fire wouldn’t spread any further. There wasn’t much they could do for the elevator itself, so they had to protect the area instead.”

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