MILLVILLE, N.B. – The Millville Fire Department has spent this week hard at work – tearing down what remains of their fire hall, and cleaning up the site. It’s a tough job for the 18 volunteers on the squad, who now know the devastating fire was set deliberately.
Chief Justin McGuigan says it’s hard to believe someone could do this in the small village.
“When your building goes down like this, you’re really disappointed to see that go. But then you get really frustrated,” he said.
Fire marshals determined Wednesday afternoon that the fire was suspicious. They used dogs to sniff out any accelerants or materials that could have caused it, but they haven’t disclosed what tipped them off.
It’s left residents, like Shirley McConhehy, shocked. She watched as the fire destroyed the fire hall and village office Monday morning and says the building was a community gathering place.
As the building burned, she says she had suspicions.
“The first thing that goes through all of our minds is – has this been set?”
Jesse Clark was one of the first people to call 911 Monday.
“Just shocked that somebody would go ahead and do something like that, especially after what happened in Nackawic.”
Just 12 miles away, the Nackawic fire destroyed their fire hall and much of their equipment – exactly a week before the same fate fell on Millville. Now some area fire departments are looking at improving the security around their halls – in case the pattern continues.
For now, Millville is moving forward. The insurance adjustors have gone through the building and vehicles, and the squad is pulling together. Chief McGuigan is optimistic they’ll be able to recover most of the losses through insurance.
“We’ve had offers from other stations, we’ve had commitments from the provincial government and the federal government as well to help us out, and so one way or the other we’ll have things buttoned up later on in the future. Right now it’s just not exactly sure who’s bringing what to the table,” he said.
RCMP are continuing to investigate, but it will take time because the building is so damaged. There are no suspects at this time.