New Brunswick

Millville legion gutted by fire

A late-night fire in Millville destroyed the community's Royal Canadian Legion, but firefighters were able tos ave some mementos gathered by local veterans.

A late-night fire in Millville destroyed the community’s Royal Canadian Legion, but firefighters were able to save some mementos gathered by local veterans.

Justin McGuigan, the fire chief in Millville, said fire crews were called to the 65-year-old building just before 11 p.m. on Thursday.

Just hours before, about 90 people were in the building for a jamboree.

He said firefighters from four communities were needed to get the fire under control.

While no one was hurt in the blaze, McGuigan said the legion was gutted.

"The look of the building outside is quite deceiving compared to the damage that was damaged inside. The building definitely will be a total loss," McGuigan said.

The legion had put on display various items collected by local veterans.

McGuigan said firefighters were able to save some items from the veterans’ room at the legion.

He said the items included uniforms and memorabilia from the First and Second World Wars.

"Many of these items are stored in glass cases, which are mounted to the wall, and these cases remained intact, and the glass was still in place," he said.

"So many of the items inside — although maybe [they] suffered a little bit of smoke damage — ultimately survived."

McGuigan said it's too early in the investigation to determine how the fire started, but it is not considered suspicious.

Millville Mayor Bev Forbes said several people from the community watched as fire crews tried to save the building.

The legion was an important building in the small community.

In addition to Remembrance Day ceremonies, Forbes said the legion was used for bingo, fundraisers, weddings and a weekly jamboree. 

The mayor said it's too early to think about rebuilding, but he said he can't imagine the community without its legion.

"I think, with the community, that we will probably all work together and we'll get something back up and going. I can't see it going to the wayside right at this moment," Forbes said.

More than $75,000 worth of work has gone into the legion in the past four years, according to legion president Carolyn Braun.

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