Residents on edge in rural N.B. community after 3 weekends of fires
Community members are 'very concerned,' says mayor of Beaubassin-Est
Residents in Beaubassin-Est, N.B., are on edge after fires damaged buildings in the rural southeast community three weekends in a row.
"The community is very concerned with the situation that is going on," said Mayor Louise Landry.
For the past three weekends, smokehouses at two fish processing plants were destroyed by overnight fires.
The first two weekends saw fires damage smokehouses at Botsford Fisheries.
This weekend's fires destroyed four structures at M&M Cormier Fisheries.
There were also two other fires in nearby communities on a hay truck and at a garage.
Cap-Pelé Fire Chief Ronald Cormier was part of the team that responded to several of the fires, including the one at the smokehouse on Saturday.
"I don't know if we got an arsonist somewhere? I don't know? I don't know what's going on," he said.
Sgt. Pierre Chiasson, with the New Brunswick RCMP, said police are working with the fire marshal to figure out the cause of the fires. Given there were three fires over three weekends, he said they consider Saturday's fire suspicious.
He's asking anyone with information that might help the investigation to reach out to police.
Landry said she's happy to hear the RCMP are looking into the matter.
"I think for the community to know that they're on it and that they are seeking public knowledge if they do have some, for me it was a relief that that's where we are at now," said Landry.
Landry said the rural community hasn't heard anything from the RCMP about the fires, but hopes to have conversations with them soon.
She said the fires over the past three weekends aren't the only ones.
"We've had other businesses in the past couple of years [burn] as well," said Landry.
"We've had some vacant houses that went through fires."
Landry said a major concern for the community is the health and well-being of the fire crews in the area.
She said they've been through a lot the past three weekends and people are worried about them.
"We have over 390 square kilometres, and we have three crews that are working to serve our community," said Landry.
"Most of them are all volunteers and they have to work the next day."
With files from Blair Sanderson and Melissa Friedman