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Bowden resident feared copycat fire

Crime meeting participant expressed fear that an abandoned home near where she lives in Bowden could also be set on fire
MVT Bowden hotel demolition 3
Innisfail's Howell's Excavation demolishes the fire-ravaged pioneer Bowden Hotel during the early evening of Jan. 1. Submitted photo

BOWDEN — During a recent meeting on crime, a local resident voiced fear that another fire could break out in town, this time near where she lives.

She raised that concern during a town hall meeting on crime, held last month in the Bowden Friendship Centre. 

The Bowden Hotel burned down just after midnight on Jan. 1 and the cause of that blaze is deemed to be suspicious, Staff Sgt. Warren Wright, the commanding officer of Olds RCMP said. 

Then on Jan. 27, just before 8 p.m., another suspicious blaze was reported at the former Mom's Kitchen, a building a stone's throw from the Bowden Hotel. That fire, first reported by a passing pedestrian, was determined to have been intentionally set. Damage was limited to the door of the building.

The resident attending the crime meeting expressed fear that an abandoned home near where she lives could also be set on fire in the wake of that incident. 

“How concerned do the neighbours of that house have to be that there’s going to be another suspicious fire go up in flames," she asked. 

“We’re always concerned about copycats,” Wright said.  

He said the best thing to do in this situation is to relay that concern to town officials. 

“They’re aware of the building,” the resident said, adding town employees or firefighters boarded it up.  

“That owner visits and they mow the lawn when the town tells them to,” she added. 

Wright said one idea might be to install a camera pointed in the direction of the building so police could scan its footage for evidence if anything happens there. 

Bowden Coun. Wayne Milaney said he’s visited Detroit, Chicago and New York and compared to those cities, Bowden is pretty safe and calm.