Tramping Lake grain elevator fire loss for family, community

By Angela Brown
August 28, 2017 - 5:00pm

The Tramping Lake grain elevator fire is a big loss not only for the family who owned it, but also to the small community, located about 100 kilometres from North Battleford.

Kerrobert, Wilkie and Unity fire departments attended the fire which started on Saturday around 1 p.m. Despite extinguishing the flames, the structure could not be saved. Cause of the fire hasn't been determined yet. 

Brothers Brian and Warren Kohlman, who owned the elevator, say they used it for their family farming business and the loss will be hard. 

"It was part of us. We've had it for 16 or 17 years," he said. "But it is what it is. You've got to deal with it."

Kohlman thanked the volunteer fire departments for their helping putting out the fire, as well as neighbors who shut down their harvests to help.

The family lost about 35,000 bushels of yellow peas from this year's harvest, and roughly 6,000 bushels of wheat inside the elevator. 

Kohlman noticed the flames when he was returning to load crop from the harvest. He said he saw "flames shooting out of the top."

"We were combining and I was going to take the last load of peas. I could see the smoke coming out," Kohlman said. "An hour later, it was collapsed."

"For us, it's priceless," Kohlman said. "And for what we paid for it, it's worth more than that. You can't buy them anymore." 

He said he and the family hasn't given up hope for the business and is now working to rebuild granaries. 

Tramping Lake Mayor Christine Lang said the landmark is the last grain elevator in the village.

 "It's very devastating to our community," she said. "It's totally gone.” 

The elevator was moved there from Broadacres around the 1970s and was originally owned by the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, Lang said.

"It made me cry," she said. "That was part of our town. It was the beacon when you were coming home from somewhere, and were close to home. You were 10 miles out of town and could see the elevator. It won't be there anymore.


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