PEI

Empty apartment building burns in Tyne Valley

Firefighters from four western P.E.I. fire departments fought a fire throughout the night at a three-storey apartment building in Tyne Valley.

Fire deliberately set, says fire chief

Firefighters from the Tyne Valley Fire Department as well as firefighters from Lennox Island, Wellington and Miscouche battled the blaze. (Kelsey Pam MacKinnon/Facebook)

As many as 50 firefighters from four western P.E.I. fire departments fought a fire throughout Tuesday night at a three-storey apartment building in Tyne Valley.

The call about the fire came in just after 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The century-old Lidstone building, in the heart of the community, has been vacant for years, and the electricity was disconnected. Tyne Valley Fire Chief William Bishop said a number of small fires have been set in the building, and he believes this one was too.

"It's been boarded up, broken into, set fire over the last number of years," said Bishop.

"It's an ongoing issue here."

RCMP are investigating the fire.

'Just a nightmare'

Bishop said there were flames coming through the roof when they arrived, and fire on the ground floor as well.

"You couldn't get inside to fight it, because the building was so old. The stairwells, you couldn't get up them. You couldn't get on the roof because it was rotten. It was just a nightmare," said Bishop.

Somebody could've got hurt.- Fire Chief William Bishop

There were 40 to 50 volunteer firefighters on the scene for about 10 hours, mostly trying to protect surrounding properties.

Bishop is angry about the time wasted by the volunteers.

"This is something that somebody set. Somebody could've got hurt," he said.

RCMP say they will be canvassing neighbours Wednesday to see if anyone witnessed anything that can help in the investigation.

The Tyne Valley Fire Department was assisted by firefighters from Lennox Island, Wellington and Miscouche.

With files from Laura Chapin