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Century-old church destroyed by fire in small New Brunswick community

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WATCH: A small New Brunswick community is reeling, after a century-old church was destroyed by fire overnight. The blaze completely destroyed Saint-Timothée Catholic Church. Suzanne Lapointe reports – Dec 9, 2021

A small New Brunswick community is reeling, after a century-old church was destroyed by fire overnight.

The blaze completely destroyed Saint-Timothée Catholic Church in Shemogue. No one was inside the church and there were no injuries.

Read more: Fire crews respond to blaze at Cap-Pelé sawmill: ‘There’s nothing left’

Cap-Pelé fire Chief Ronald Cormier said he arrived on the scene at around 6 a.m. on Thursday, and initially thought crews would be able to save the church.

Suzanne Lapointe/Global News

However, things quickly took a turn for the worse.

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“We unlocked the door, we went in and killed the fire and I thought we had it. But the fire was between those two walls, and the fire was outside and it went up to the attic. We couldn’t reach the attic,” he said.

Cormier said the church blaze is the latest in a string of fires in the community.

“I don’t know what the hell is going on but I would like to stop it,” he said.

Suzanne Lapointe/Global News

Neighbour Claire Jauffroy, who lives across the street from the church, called it a shame for the community to lose the gathering spot.

“On Sunday, the parking lot is usually full. On special occasions before COVID and all that, it was standing room only,” she said.

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Man charged with arson

In a release Friday, the New Brunswick RCMP said they charged a 26-year-old man with arson in relation to the fire.

It said officers arrested the suspect on Thursday and he appeared in Moncton Provincial Court Friday morning, where he was charged with arson.

Samuel Vautour was remanded into custody and is scheduled to return to court later on Friday.

“The RCMP is continuing their investigation into other suspicious fires that occurred earlier this year in several communities in the Southeast District. This includes determining whether there are any links between the incidents,” the release said.

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