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Fire at abandoned Saint John home deemed suspicious

WATCH: A fire at an abandoned home in Saint John on Monday morning has been deemed suspicious. As Silas Brown reports, it's only the latest in a series of fires at abandoned homes in the city's North End.

A fire at an abandoned home in Saint John on Monday morning has been deemed suspicious.

Deputy fire chief Joe Armstrong says crews from Saint John Fire and Rescue responded to the home on Victoria Road at approximately 12:30 a.m., to find a fire in the back of the home.

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Firefighters were able to keep the fire contained and fought it from the outside.

Nobody was inside the home when it was searched, and it was abandoned with no power, leading investigators to deem the blaze to be suspicious.

“It’s being investigated by Saint John Fire as well as Saint John city police.” said Armstrong.

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Fires are a common occurrence in Saint John’s North End, a fact grimly marked by graffiti sprayed on abandoned houses asking: “Am I next?”

Armstrong says vacant buildings are put on fire watch lists to try and prevent blazes.

“The crews do a weekly check on the buildings, try to make sure that they’re boarded up, make sure that they’re secure,” he said.

“I believe that the people that do own the buildings are working with a demolition company to make sure that they are secured.”

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John Mackenzie, councillor for Ward 2, says demolition is often the best method of fire supression.

“Safety is a big part of it, right. And obviously, if we want developers to come in and do something in this area we’ve got to clean it up,” he said.

“Nobody wants to put up a new building next to three or four buildings that need to be torn down. So phase one: tear them down, clean it up. And then phase two: rebuild.”

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But the effort to revitalize the area may begin with demolition but completing it is rooted in the positive things the community has to offer.

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One member of Saint John Fire and Rescue was injured when they slipped and fell. They had to leave the scene to be treated for minor injuries but was able to come back and rejoin the team later on.

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An investigation into the incident is ongoing.