Bear River band office destroyed in early morning blaze

Bear River band office destroyed in early morning blaze

A fire in Bear River on Friday morning has destroyed an important landmark in the small Nova Scotia community.

At around 1:20 a.m. AT, the Bear River fire department was notified of an alarm sounding at the Bear River First Nation band office at 130 Reservation Rd. Multiple fire departments in the area responded to put out the fire.

Officials say nobody was inside the building.

Bear River fire Chief David McCormick said one of the department’s members was passing by on his way to the fire hall when he saw the building was ablaze.

“[He] realized that it was a full-out structure fire [and] he called the fire hall,” McCormick said, adding that surrounding fire stations were then paged to assist.

The building was fully engulfed in flames when the Digby fire department arrived at the scene at around 2 a.m.

A huge loss

Firefighters battled the flames for about three hours, said Digby fire Chief Robert Morgan.

“It was pretty well knocked down by probably around 5 [a.m.],” he said, adding that an excavator was brought in to tear down the rest of the building so the fire could be extinguished.

McCormick said the fire hall and Bear River First Nation work together closely on fire protection in the community.

“It’s a huge loss. There’s a lot of history that goes with that building,” McCormick said, adding that the building was built about 40 years ago with post-and-beam construction.

“It was a beautiful building inside.”

McCormick said a small area of the surrounding woods burned and there was some minor damage to a neighbouring building.

The cause of the fire has not been determined. McCormick said an investigation is underway.

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