A July 28 fire destroyed the Ponton Service Station at the junction of Highway 39 and Highway 6, which was the site of a hotel and corner store as well as a gas bar.
The business, which has been owned by the Cross Lake Band for about 20 years, went up in flames as a result of two trucks in the rear parking lot catching fire, the store manager Audrey Ducharme told CBC.
Fourteen people worked at the station, which is about 50 kilometres from Wabowden and 150 kilometres from Thompson. The next gas station on Highway 6 to Winnipeg is in Grand Rapids, about 175 kilometres south.
Wabowden RCMP were notified of the fire around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and arrived to find the building engulfed in flames. The Wabwden Fire Department attended the scene and extinguished the fire with help from Manitoba Sustainable Development Wildfire Program ground crews and a water bomber.
The remains of the building were still smoking around 6 p.m. July 29.
The Office of the Fire Commissioner is assisting Wabowden RCMP with their investigation of the fire at the request of the RCMP. The call for assistance was based on the fact that the destruction of the business was a major loss to the region, the Office of the Fire Commissioner told the Thompson Citizen.