The fire chief in Havelock, N.B., says thearson of a century-old church may be the latest work of a serial hay bale-burnerin his region.
On Tuesday, the Corn Hill United Baptist Church suffered extensive damagefrom an early morning fire, which destroyed the church's sanctuary and saw the steeple torn down.
Investigators said Thursday they are now positive an arsonist lit the fire. Havelock fire chief John McGee said investigators used a sniffer dog to determine that an accelerant was used to start the fire.
McGee said that, for the past several weeks, his 23-member volunteer fire department and the Petitcodiac Fire Department have been busy putting out burning hay bales in their areas.
He said that although there is noevidence to link the church fire and the hay bale fires, the level of concern jumped Tuesday morning.
Now McGee said he isworried the arsonist may have moved from lighting hay bales to setting buildings on fire.
"It's one thing having hay bales on fire, but if it progresses up, then there's more danger to not only the people in the community but to the firemen themselves that have to respond to these fires."
He added that having his crews out extinguishing burning hay bales means they aren't available for house fires or other emergencies.
McGee said he encourages anybody who has any information on the fires to contact the police.