New Brunswick

Monument may replace Waterside church

A dramatic fire lit up the sky over the Bay of Fundy on Friday night and destroyed an historic church in Albert County.

110-year-old church destroyed by fire on Friday

The Waterside Baptist Church was destroyed by fire on Friday. (Courtesy of Brian Townsend)

A dramatic fire lit up the sky over the Bay of Fundy on the weekend and destroyed an historic church in Albert County.

Waterside Baptist Church was built on the edge of the Bay of Fundy near Alma 110 year ago but it was struck by lightning on Friday.

People in the southern community are now discussing how to remember the historic church as well as the event that led to its destruction.

Brenda Hoare said she heard the lightning strike on Friday night when she was getting ready for bed.

"My bedroom just lit up in a blue light, when it hit, we felt that our house was hit," Hoare said.

"We went around looking to see what damage was done and it was just shortly after that that the sky was really orange and we looked out and the church was on fire."

Firefighters responded to the fire at about 11:30 p.m., in the community located about 53 kilometres south of Moncton.

Hoare said the fire moved quickly and the old building was already lost by the time the fire crews arrived.

"When I looked out it was just the steeple part of the church that was on fire and within seconds the whole church was engulfed and it was down probably within 15, 20 minutes," she said.

Hoare said the view from the church was amazing. She was part of a committee that was trying to preserve the historical building.

After the fire, all that is left of the historic church is a pile of rubble.

The fire has created a lot of interest in the last three days.

Hoare said there's been a steady stream of people on Highway 915, stopping to see what's left of the church.

There have been some people who have stopped to sift through the rubble for a piece of stained glass or a brick to keep as a souvenir.

She said some people in the area are discussing the idea of putting up a monument in its place or expanding the graveyard next door.