Saturday, May 26, 2007

Fire in Wonowon

Hall's Food and Gas in Wonowon, B.C. was destroyed by a fire on Friday, May 25, 2007. Jill and I stayed here in August 1996 when we did our BC visit. I was here for the 2000 Wonowon Community Reunion, and all three of us were here for the 2005 Reunion.

These photos were taken in the morning and mid-afternoon of July 17, 2005.

Back in the 1960s and '70s, when it was Wonowon Services rather than Hall's, it was owned by the Close family. The Lum family lived in part of the hotel when my parents operated the restaurant here.

Thanks to Laurie Dowd for sending the news, and providing a link to Moose-FM for news updates.

Wonowon is located on the Alaska Highway. In this link to an article in the Vancouver Sun, there is mention of closing the highway. The Moose-FM piece indicates that the highway was closed in both directions for five hours. From the Sun article:
A local state of emergency was declared Friday in the northern B.C. village of Wonowon after fire broke out at a hotel and gas station.

Most residents of the community, which has a population of about 200, were ordered evacuated because of fears propane and gasoline tanks in the filling station attached to the hotel might explode.

The RCMP also closed the Alaska Highway that runs through the village.

Evacuees from the village, which used to be called Blueberry, were taken to Fort St. John, about 100 kilometres to the south.

Witnesses say everyone safely escaped the burning building without injury.


The tiny community has no fire protection so the building was allowed to burn itself out.

UPDATE - Laurie went up to Wonowon with Dave and Hattie on Sunday the 27th. She sent the following pictures and gave permission to post them here. The damage looks like it is total -- very sad.


Anonymous said...

I had originally read your article the year we heard about the hotel/gas station fire. Our family is saddened to hear of this terrible news.

We lived in wonowon and we remember Dave and Hattie very well. The last time I spoke with them was over 15 years ago. It was really good to see the photos of them.

I have the original postcard of the hotel/gas station that I would like to post for you if you are interested.

Waiting for your reply.

Anonymous said...

Omg that so sad i was working there in 2006 and i new every one that worked there poor Sharen hall
and mister hall. I have so many great memories in that town even know its so small but i got to know lots a new people every day pumping gas there thanks for sharing the post. James

Do-Ming said...

To the person who commented on May 4 -- please by all means post the original postcard. If it is the one that dates back to the 1960s, it has my father's car in it! I've since mislaid the copy that I had as a boy.

In either 2000 or 2005, I remember getting a hand made post card from the restaurant. It had been done (I think) by one of the waitresses, and was quite lovely.