After a nearly three-month investigation, fire officials still don’t know what caused a fire that gutted a community centre and volunteer fire department in Beaver Bank.
In a release issued yesterday, the cause of the fire was officially deemed “undetermined,” although investigators don’t suspect it was a case of arson.
“This was an accidental fire as far as we’re concerned, but the actual cause is undetermined,” said Divisional Captain Craig MacDonald of Halifax Regional Fire Services. “As with most major fires, the evidence to support what caused it was destroyed.”
The $4.5-million facility, built in 2004, was engulfed in flames on the night of Sept. 23. No one was injured, but by the time fire crews got the blaze under control, the roof was practically gone and there was extensive damage to the interior of the structure.
Along with the volunteer fire department headquarters, the building housed a daycare, an RCMP community office and a public computer-access facility.
“We believe (the fire) started at the rear of the building,” MacDonald said. “There was a deck on the upper level and we think it started in that area.”
Area Coun. Barry Dalrymple, who worked as a fire investigator himself for 15 years, said the ruling came as no surprise to him.
“Once we went the first couple of weeks without being able to determine (the cause), the chances plummeted that we would ever determine the cause,” he said.
Dalrymple added the community is committed to rebuilding the centre, and has already raised more than $14,000 towards the project.
Insurance will cover most of the cost of a new building, but any additions or improvements will come out of the community’s collective pocket.
“We do want to redesign the building,” Dalrymple said. “In the past five years, the community had already outgrown the centre. We need more room, and we would love to make it more accessible to people with disabilities.”