Arson suspected after Sydney Community Church damaged by fire
HALIFAX -- The fire marshal’s office is investigating a suspected arson at the Sydney Community Church in Sydney, N.S.
The Salvation Army says the fire happened Sunday evening and caused minimal damage to one side of the church, after someone threw a bottle filled with flammable liquid at the building.
"I'm not quite sure what the motives were, what the intent was behind it, but it's scary to think that someone would intentionally throw a Molotov cocktail at a set of propane tanks adjacent to our building," says Maj. Corey Vincent of the Salvation Army.
Local residents reported the fire and crews responded to the scene around 7:30 p.m.
When firefighters arrived, they quickly determined the fire had been deliberately set.
“Everybody in the area should be concerned when someone targets a facility, everyone should be concerned with this type of activity,” says Paul Ferguson, platoon chief of CBRM Fire Services.
“What has been done in the world for someone to deserve this type of treatment?” asks Todd Riley, the manager of the neighbouring Sydney Call Centre.
Employees of that call centre relied heavily on the Salvation Army for support when the former ServiCom suddenly closed its doors in December 2018, putting hundreds out of work.
“They’ve been there for us time after time,” says Riley. “Whatever we can do to support them, we will be there for them. To see this happen is a tragedy.”
Nobody was injured and the damage was minimal, but fire officials say the location of the fire is a cause for concern.
“We got away lucky this time, and the Salvation Army can continue to focus on the work they do for the community, instead of focusing on rebuilding their structure,” says Ferguson.
For Vincent, he’s hoping justice will be served, but also wants to reach out to whomever was behind the vandalism.
“I would like an opportunity to speak to this individual and have a conversation. I want to let him know that he is loved by our church, and is forgiven,” says Vincent.
Cape Breton Regional Police say they are pursuing a ‘couple of avenues’ as part of their investigation, but have made no arrests at this time.