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Arson destroys historical PasKaPoo Park museum and general store: police

‘The entire village could have been gone; all of Rimbey’s history gone’
The Rimbey General Store Museum burned down early July 5. (Facebook/ Paskapoo Historical Park & Smithson International Truck Museum)

Early Tuesday morning July 5, just after 1 a.m. an arsonist set fire to the General Store Museum in PasKaPoo Historical Park.

The museum, set up as an old general store and containing historical items from old canned goods to a butcher shop set up has been irreversibly damaged and everything inside has been lost.

“It’s gone,” says Curator of the PasKaPoo Historical Museum Cheryl Jones.

“There is absolutely nothing salvageable.”

Jones says that she received a phone call around 2:20 a.m. Tuesday from the Ponoka County West Fire Department that the General Store Museum was on fire. When Jones arrived on scene the fire department had the fire contained to just the store.

She said the heavy rainfall that night and the quick action of the fire department greatly aided in ensuring only one building was lost. The General Store Museum sits along a row of other historic buildings relocated from main street Rimbey to PasKaPoo Park including Rimbey’s first schoolhouse, original town office and first church.

“The entire village could have been gone; all of Rimbey’s history gone,” said Jones.

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Video footage of the night shows a lone individual hopping the fence to the locked-up area before heading straight for the General Store. A flash is then captured and the fire began.

RCMP officers in the area noticed the fire when driving past and immediately called the fire department.

Jones says that while there are photos and a record of what items were in the museum, everything has been lost and given their historical nature are irreplaceable.

“That’s just history lost.”

The Rimbey RCMP states that the video provided enough evidence to confirm that the fire was intentionally set. The RCMP say the investigation is in the early stages as they continue to look for the perpetrator.

The Rimbey General Store Museum before the fire (Submitted/ Cheryl Jones)
2:30 a.m. the morning of the fire Ponoka County West Fire Department battles the fire at the museum. (Submitted/ Cheryl Jones)
The aftermath of the museum fire (Submitted/ Cheryl Jones)