‘It’s just sad’: Elsipogtog Youth Centre destroyed in suspicious fire

Click to play video: 'Youth centre fire a big loss for Elsipogtog First Nation'
Youth centre fire a big loss for Elsipogtog First Nation
A popular gathering spot in Elsipogtog First Nation is gone. The youth centre was destroyed in a fire Thursday morning, and as Suzanne Lapointe reports, it's a big loss for the community – Nov 11, 2022

Community members in Elsipogtog First Nation are reeling from the destruction of its youth centre in a suspicious fire Thursday morning.

In a statement to Global News, Elsipogtog Chief Arren Sock said the centre has been “an integral part of our community for more than 20 years.”

“Our thoughts are with our youth, our youth support staff and our community as a whole,” said Sock, adding that there were no injuries.

He said the council is in discussion with youth support staff to determine what steps will be taken to ensure youth services can continue in the short-term.

The Elsipogtog youth centre was destroyed in a fire Thursday morning. Suzanne Lapointe/Global News

Elsipogtog junior firefighter Rowen Milliea, who used to attend the youth centre, responded to the blaze around 5 a.m.

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“When I got here the roof was already collapsed, so I knew it was done the moment I got here,” he said.

Milliea said he has fond memories of spending time at the centre and was sad to see it go.

“In my opinion it brought the youth together, and it shows just how much this community cares about our children,” said Milliea.

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He said it’s devastating to see another fire at a popular gathering place in the community, recalling the 2020 fire that shut down the local hockey arena for two years.

“It just makes me sad because this community has been through so much … it’s just sad.”

Milliea hopes the centre will be rebuilt as soon as possible.

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Hans Ouellette told Global News on Saturday that the investigation into the fire is ongoing and they encourage anyone with information to contact police.

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