New Brunswick

Bass River church claimed in latest string of arsons

A 140-year-old Bass River church was severely damaged by a fire Tuesday morning.

Beersville Fire Chief Mark Perry says there have been 27 fires set in area in last year

A 140-year-old Bass River church was severely damaged Tuesday morning in a fire that is believed to have been deliberately set.

According to Beersville Fire Chief Mark Perry, there have been 27 deliberately set fires over the last year.

The Beersville Fire Department says there have been 27 fires in the area over the last year that were deliberately set. (CBC)
The fire at St. Bartholomew's Roman Catholic Church was reported at around 5 a.m.

Rev. Alfred Desautels was not allowed in the building, but doesn't believe mass will be held there for a long time, if ever.

What will they do next if they burned a church?- Mark Perry, Beersville Fire Chief

"Will they rebuild it? I don't know," he said.

"Half the roof would have to be replaced, the back end of the building would have to be replaced."

Firefighters responded to a 911 call from someone who lives near the church around 5 a.m. About 30 firefighters fought the blaze for approximately four hours.

Arsons 'definitely escalating'

The fire chief says suspicious fires are definitely escalating. 

"It used to be just abandoned houses where there was no dollar lost," he explained. "They burned a new garage last Saturday night or Sunday morning in the main river and they burned four big things in the last [two or three weeks].

"And it's getting to be burning like you know, buildings that people live in. The church was crazy, I don't know why they would do that."

Perry said the RCMP and the regional fire marshal are investigating the fire

"We're starting to think now, what will they do next if they burned a church?" said Perry.