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Fire destroys new arena in the region

'It was like a central hub for us'
20190219 timiskaming arena fire
Photo courtesy Facebook.

The Timiskaming First Nation near Notre-Dame-Du-Nord, Quebec, has lost its new ice rink.

On Monday, police and fire crews arrived to find the new First Nation community centre’s roof had collapsed and then caught on fire.  

Flames were first visible around 1 p.m. on Monday, but the roof collapse occurred around 2 a.m. Monday morning.  

No one was injured in the blaze to a facility that only opened its ice rink in the fall of 2018.  

Wayne McKenzie, Timiskaming First Nation Chief, says the cause is still under investigation as the power had been cut off by Quebec Hydro before the fire started. The Zamboni was safely recovered before the roof collapsed. 

McKenzie says the First Nation, which is made up of around 2,800 members, is sad to see the new building destroyed. 

"It was like a central hub," McKenzie told 

"We had bingos, general meetings and family gatherings there." 

The building, situated near the school, even allowed young students to skate during lunch time. 

Even neighbouring communities have reacted to the fire.   

“Our thoughts go out to the Timiskaming First Nation (TFN) Community,” stated the Temiskaming Shores Minor Hockey Association via Facebook.

“Their beautiful new arena and Community Hall collapsed and caught fire early this morning.”  

The facility was insured and officials confirmed the heavy snow may have led to the collapse of the roof.  

The facility was scheduled to host a men's and women's three-on-three hockey tournament during the first weekend of March.  

While there is still a lot of work to be done, McKenzie says they are in good financial shape to utilize the insurance funding and other funds to help make a new facility even bigger and better than the first one.  

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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