North Shore res­i­dents alarmed by sus­pi­cious fires, van­dal­ism


There was plenty of talk — and just as much con­cern — among res­i­dents along the North Shore about a pair of sus­pi­cious fires at two aban­doned build­ings and sev­eral in­ci­dents of van­dal­ism that oc­curred dur­ing the early hours of May 6.

The in­ci­dents ap­pear to be re­lated, and cov­ered a 30-kilo­me­tre stretch from Salmon Cove in the south to Job’s Cove in the north.

Up to Fri­day, May 17, po­lice had not made any ar­rests.

On e w o m a n in Nor th­ern Bay, who asked not to be named, said she was alarmed by what she called a “ram­page,” and added, “No more will my door be left un­locked.”

A male res­i­dent of Job’s Cove blamed what he called a drug prob­lem flamed by un­em­ploy­ment and bore­dom, and said he worries about his own prop­erty.

“Yo u c ome in at night and you have to ask if you took the keys out of the ig­ni­tion or if you locked the garage door,” the man stated. “We never had to do that be­fore.”

“You come in at night and you have to ask if you took the keys out of the ig­ni­tion or if you locked the garage door. We never had to do that be­fore.”

— Lo­cal res­i­dent

Flat­tened by fire

The most dra­matic in­ci­dent oc­curred in North­ern Bay, where the old Bide A While build­ing, lo­cated ad­ja­cent to North­ern Bay Sands park, was flat­tened by a fire that likely be­gan some­time af­ter 3 a.m. The build­ing was once home to a busi­ness cater­ing to young peo­ple, host­ing teenage dances and serv­ing burg­ers and fries. It was later a night­club un­til it closed per­ma­nently about a decade ago. The build­ing was con­sid­ered by many to be an eye­sore.

About eight kilo­me­tres away in Job’s Cove, the old Bac­calieu Lanes build­ing was also se­ri­ously dam­aged by fire, and was likely saved from to­tal ruin by a timely re­sponse by the Old Per­li­can Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment.

Fire­fight­ers no­ticed smoke ris­ing from the rear of the build­ing as they re­sponded to the fire in North­ern Bay, and man­aged to con­tain the fire to the rear wall and eaves, though a por­tion of the foun­da­tion was burned.

A res­i­dent who lives in the area said the rear of the build­ing, which has not been oc­cu­pied for about 15 years, was a pop­u­lar hangout. The large wooden struc­ture was con­structed in the mid-1970s by the late Boyd But­ton, ini­tially op­er­ated as a “Western Tire” out­let, and has changed own­er­ship sev­eral times over the years.

The Bac­calieu Lanes build­ing is lo­cated on a largely un­in­hab­ited stretch of the high­way, di­rectly across the road from a mu­seum and cafe op­er­ated by the Flam­bro Head Her­itage So­ci­ety.

An RCMP in­ves­ti­ga­tor at the scene of the fire in Job’s Cove could be seen re­mov­ing a plas­tic con­tainer from the grounds near the rear of the build­ing and plac­ing it in his ve­hi­cle. When asked if the con­tainer may have con­tained some type of ac­cel­er­ant, the of­fi­cer, who asked not to be named, said it would have to be tested.

How­ever, he said it’s very likely that both fires were re­lated.

Mean­while, po­lice be­lieve three other in­ci­dents of van­dal­ism are re­lated. They in­clude the smash­ing of a pickup truck win­dow in Salmon Cove, and bro­ken win­dows at the United Church in Western Bay and four cot­tages that are un­der con­struc­tion in Ochre Pit Cove.

The owner of the cot­tages, James Beahm of Vic­to­ria, said the van­dal­ism at his prop­erty oc­curred at about the same time the fires were re­ported.

When asked how he felt about the van­dal­ism, Beahm replied: “We’ll get it fixed and keep on go­ing.”

Po­lice are ask­ing any­one who may have wit­nessed any sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity early Mon­day morn­ing to con­tact the RCMP de­tatch­ment in Har­bour Grace,

Pho­tos by Terry Roberts/the Com­pass

The for­mer Bide A While club in North­ern Bay was lev­elled by fire dur­ing the early hours of May 6.

An RCMP in­ves­ti­ga­tor ex­am­ines the scene of a fire at the old Bac­calieu Lanes build­ing in Job’s Cove on Mon­day, May 6.

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