The city’s downtown was awash with sirens midday Monday after the proprietor of a business reported smoke coming from an air-conditioning unit in a building he says is unsafe.
Four fire engines responded to the possible fire call, made around noon, to the building on the intersection of Sixth Street and Second Avenue next to the Monarch Theatre – an historic city building which formerly housed the Medicine Hat News offices.
Current occupant Sam Sandidge, owner of used bookstore and cat rescue the Page and Whisker, says he’ll be moving from the location.
Sandidge painted words to that effect on the windows of the business, writing, “We are moving,” in white, washable paint as firefighters combed through the building.
He says the danger to his staff and cats is too great to remain in the building.
“Our AC hasn’t worked,” said Sandidge pointing to the unit which sits on top of the awning suspended over the sidewalk. “This morning, with no warning, it started overheating.”
Sandidge says there is a lot of history in the building, but also of historic structures in the city’s downtown, burning down.
“Just like the Central Block,” said Sandidge, referencing the last such building which was destroyed by fire in the city’s downtown more than a decade ago, and located a few doors down from the Page and Whisker.
Alex McCuaig, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News