‘It’s devastating’: Fire shells the Kennebecasis Legion

Click to play video: 'Fire guts Royal Canadian Legion in New Brunswick'
Fire guts Royal Canadian Legion in New Brunswick
WATCH: A fire ripped through a Royal Canadian Legion in Rothesay, N.B., leaving nothing but a shell. The blaze caused two fire departments to tackle the commercial building. And as Zack Power reports, now the members are wondering what’s next – Jun 20, 2023

Not much is left of the Kennebecasis Legion Branch 58 after a fire gutted the inside of the building on Thursday.

Shortly after 11:30 a.m., the Kennebecasis Valley Fire Department was called to a section of Marr Road in Rothesay, where the fire had started. Crews were able to contain the fire to just the Legion, but in turn, the building is considered a write-off.

Mutual aid from nearby Hampton had to be called in to assist with the smoke and the threat of a larger blaze.

The local Legion of nearly 200 members has been relying on the space for rentals, as well as poker, lunches and other get-togethers. While insurance money will cover the damage caused by the fire, the group told Global News that it relies heavily on the other functions throughout the year.

The president of the branch said they are unsure what is next for the legion. Zack Power / Global News

“We don’t really have a big budget to keep the place going if we don’t have those extra services,” branch president Brian Eisan said in an interview with Global News on Tuesday.

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“Those extras,” he said, referring to things like the brunches, poker, and catering, “that’s what keeps us going.”

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He described going inside the remains of the building shortly after getting clearance from fire officials. He described soot and ash covering the walls inside the building.

He was shocked when he got the call that the Legion was on fire, but was optimistic when he didn’t see any smoke coming from outside the building.

Eisan said that some of his long-standing members have been in shock over the past number of days as the group tried to decide on what it is going to do in the interim.

Work on the building is expected to take at least six months.

Some memorabilia was able to be saved in the fire, but not all. Zack Power / Global News

“It’s pretty shocking for most of them,” Eisan said.

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“It’s devastating for them (the members), basically the ones who participated a lot.”

Since the fire, the Town of Rothesay offered up one of its community halls so the Legion would be able to have its lobster dinner. Other branches have also come forward to offer their spaces.

There is no word yet on the cause of the fire, but officials do not believe it to be suspicious in nature.

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