Historic Saint John lighthouse destroyed by fire

Fire destroys popular lighthouse late Tuesday night in west Saint John.

Fire at Swift Point lighthouse spotted by residents from across the St. John River

The Swift Point light, accessible only by trail, was destroyed by a fire. The cause has not been determined. (Geocaching.com)

A lighthouse in west Saint John that was first built in 1869 was destroyed by a fire late Tuesday night.

At around 10 p.m., Saint John fire crews were called to the old Swift Point lighthouse, also known locally as the Green Head lighthouse.

The site is fairly remote, located at the end of a dirt road off Green Head Road on a trail popular among hikers and geocachers. 

Residents in Millidgeville called the fire department after spotting the lighthouse burning from across the St. John River.

With no road to the site, "it's difficult to get any equipment down to it," said Platoon Chief Eric Garland with the Saint John Fire Department.

The Swift Point Light was one of six beacons erected in 1869 along the St. John River between Fredericton and Saint John. It was damaged by a fire in 1872 and rebuilt in 1896. For many years, in tandem with the Sand Point lighthouse, it guided vessels along the St. John River to the entrance of Reversing Falls.

"It's been there for a long time," said Garland. "But not anymore."

By the time crews were able to access the site, the lighthouse was almost destroyed.

It has not yet been determined whether the cause of the fire was suspicious.