2 January 2024 |
Beiseker Seventh-day Adventist Church, a historical landmark in Canada, has been confirmed as the latest target of arson, according to a recent article by the Calgary Herald. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) from Airdrie Integrated Rural division have launched an investigation following the incident which saw the cherished church, established in 1945, succumb to flames.
The fire, reported on Range Road 242, approximately three kilometers west of the intersection of highways 9 and 21, engulfed the church early December 20th. Despite prompt action by the Rockyford Fire Department, who received the distress call around 6 a.m., the building was fully ablaze upon their arrival.
The efforts to control the blaze required a concerted effort from over 35 fire personnel, who were supported by units from the Rosebud Fire Department, Wheatland West Fire Department, and the Dalum Fire Department. The teams worked tirelessly for more than 11 hours at the scene. Unfortunately, the church could not be saved and was completely destroyed.
A fire investigator from Rocky View County later confirmed the cause of the fire to be arson. This revelation has deeply shaken the local community, with parishioners visiting the site to witness the aftermath of the destruction. Deputy Chief Darcy Burke reflected on the community’s response, noting the church’s significance as a communal hub, especially during the festive Christmas season, making the loss even more profound.
The Beiseker church fire is part of a disturbing trend of church arsons across Alberta. Notably, two churches in Barrhead, a town northwest of Edmonton, were set ablaze in separate incidents on December 7, and a fire ravaged a church in Janvier on December 17. The RCMP are actively investigating these cases as well. However, CPL. Troy Savinkoff from the RCMP believes this specific case may have been due to an arsonist with mental health or intoxication issues, according to a video posted by Global News.
Authorities are now seeking public assistance in the Beiseker case, urging anyone with information to come forward as they continue their investigation. The string of church arsons has raised concerns about the safety of religious institutions in Alberta, with the RCMP committing to thorough investigations to bring those responsible to justice.