New Brunswick

String of suspicious fires in Cap-Pelé has community on edge

The Bel Air restaurant was destroyed by flames last weeks, the latest target in a string of suspicious fires, that has the small seaside community nervous.

RCMP still seeking the public's help in solving the latest case of suspected arson

Clara LeBlanc thinks the investigation into the rash of suspicious fires in Cap-Pele is taking too long. (Radio-Canada)

A rash of suspicious fires in Cap-Pelé has the small seaside community on edge.

The latest target was the Bel Air takeout restaurant, which was destroyed by an early morning fire last Wednesday.

RCMP have declared the fire arson and are investigating.

"Oh, I said, not again, that's not possible," said Cap-Pelé resident Clara LeBlanc.

"It's unnerving to think they haven't found who's responsible. I hope they find them soon."

Debris and rubble are all that's left of the popular seafood takeout, which was supposed to reopen after Christmas. It was closed for renovations because of two other suspicious fires in the spring that had forced the owners to skip the busy summer season.

Rubble is all that's left of the popular Bel Air restaurant in Cap-Pele, and it's not clear what will happen to the business. (CBC)

But it's not just the local restaurant that's been at the centre of these suspicious fires.

It's been a disturbing few months for the village of about 2,500 people.

A blaze ravaged the Manoir de la Butte nursing home in November, which had been closed down a few months prior.

And in September, it was an ice cream shop that was the target of flames. 

Residents on edge

Now residents are left wondering what the next target could be.

The buildings were all vacant at the times of the fires, and no one has been hurt.

Though Marie-Paul Godbout takes some comfort in that, she said everyone is on edge.

Marie-Paul Godbout said the fires have been hard on the community. (Radio-Canada)

"It's not pleasant for anyone," said Godbout.

2019 didn't start well for the community, either.

A fire destroyed Cape Bald Packers early in the year. The lobster processing plant was the community's main employer, and the company moved 500 workers to its other factory an hour away.

"It hurts for sure," said resident Camilla Brine.

"It's sad … it's shady."

Camilla Brine wants to see the people responsible arrested. (Radio-Canada)

Shediac RCMP say they've received several videos showing a person walking toward the Bel Air restaurant with a container, moments before flames erupted.

"We're working diligently on this investigation to determine who is responsible," said Sgt. Alice Desroches.

The Cap-Pelé fire department arrived on the scene shortly after 3 a.m. last Wednesday. (Submitted)

"Based on what we have, we do not believe this was a random act."

Police are asking anyone with information to contact them.

With files from Francis Pilon

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