Fire rips through historic Enoch House in Calgary
Published Saturday, February 2, 2019 11:15AM MST
Last Updated Saturday, February 2, 2019 6:16PM MST
Calgary fire crews responded to a blaze that broke out inside a 114-year-old home near the Stampede Grounds on Saturday morning.
Firefighters were called to the Enoch House at about 7:10 a.m. for reports of a fire.
When they arrived, they found flames shooting out of the roof of the structure and called a second alarm in order to take control of the fire.
It was brought under control and the cause is under investigation.
Officially called the Enoch Sales Residence, the home was built in 1904 and is the last remaining home of the era in Victoria Park.
The two-storey Queen Anne Revival style building is a wood frame structure and represents a period when Victoria Park developed as an upscale and desirable residential neighbourhood at the end of the 19th century.
The Calgary Heritage Authority says the building is named after Enoch Samuel Sales, a representative of merchants, managers and civic leaders who built homes before the First World War.
The building is owned by the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation that say it has been vacant for the past 20 years. A series of assessments have been conducted on it to determine the possibilities of restoring the home.
Most recent estimates found it would cost $3M to renovate Enoch House.
Upon hearing about the fire on Saturday, Michael Brown, president and CEO of CMLC released a statement:
As the owner of the Enoch Sales Residence for the past two years, we are keenly aware of the significance of the house to Calgary’s history and for the community of Victoria Park. While the long terms plan for the building were not definitive at the time of today’s fire, we have been working through the complexities of the potential future for the house to determine its long-term use. We regret that now today, that future will not be realized.
The city never approved any proposals or funding to move ahead with any renovation projects at Enoch House.
Josh Traptow with the Calgary Heritage Authority says it's devastating to see the building in flames as they were in discussions with the city on how to help save it.
"There had been plans for probably the last decade to move the house to Enoch Park. We were hoping to come up with funding and some kind of plan for the house this year but, unfortunately, it doesn't look like we'll be able to deliver on that."
He hopes it will be a wakeup call for the city.
"If we want to save our heritage, we need to do it today, not tomorrow."
Ward 8 councillor Evan Woolley says there will be some tough questions to answer about the home and what could have been done to save it prior to Saturday's devastating fire.
"This is demolition by neglect. The CMLC, which own this building, has been discussing ways to save it for a number of years."
He says the Enoch Sales House has a long history in the community and is one of the few remaining historic properties in the whole city.
"We have lost a lot of heritage assets in this city and this is one that we were responsible and accountable for and have let fall."
Woolley is convinced that the home could have been saved prior to the fire and will be bringing his concerns to council on Monday.
The extent of the damage caused by the fire has not been determined. No one was hurt in the fire.