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Devastating Holy Trinity Church Fire Was Deliberately Set
Firefighters were on scene for five hours. All that remained of the church building was the chimney. Straty did say that firefighters managed to protect Holy Trinity’s signature bell, which has been covered with wooden boards to protect it. The church’s cross was also recovered, although it’s slightly bent.
Area residents reported seeing two pickup trucks driving in the isolated area around 2:30 a.m. RCMP spokesman Cpl. Ron Bumbry said the fire was regarded as suspicious since another building, an abandoned house, was burned the same night.
“There’s a very good possibility that the two are linked,” fire chief Straty said.
He also noted that area firefighters were called to five hay bale fires in one night in April, although it’s unclear whether those fires are connected to the ones last weekend.
Straty himself had not been in Holy Trinity church but said it was a fixture in Two Hills County.
He also said the fires have heightened concern among area residents.
Holy Trinity has been closed as an active parish for over 20 years, opening only occasionally for special occasions such as weddings and funerals. The last wedding was three years ago, when Miranda Ketchum, a descendant of one of the early Polish settlers who built the church, married her husband Josh.
The Roman Catholic Parish of Holy Trinity was established about 1908, when Jan Baczinksi – an early settler – donated two acres of land for a cemetery, according to a history of the church. At the time, the first pastor of the church would arrive on horseback, rain or snow, and say Mass. Most times he would spend the night at Baczinski’s home and then leave the following morning.
Built in 1947, the current building was the second church on the site, replacing the original log building completed in 1918. The Holy Trinity parish community celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2018.