Arson suspected in Queen Charlotte cabin fire

Police are investigating a suspicious fire that destroyed a small wood cabin by Bearskin Bay on Oct. 26.

“We believe it was intentionally set,” says Sergeant Terry Gillespie of the Queen Charlotte RCMP.

“We would encourage anyone with information to come forward and let us know, or call Crime Stoppers.”

No one was injured in the fire, but the cabin and all its contents were destroyed.

The man who lived in the cabin, Mike Brown, had just passed away. Friends said the argillite carver had artworks and tools inside.

Queen Charlotte Fire Chief Larry Duke said the fire was called in by people who saw it while driving by the 900 block of Oceanview Drive around 9:15 p.m. Built on Crown land and subject to evictions over the years, the neighbourhood is also known as Hooterville.

Ten Queen Charlotte firefighters responded with two fire engines and a rescue truck. They quickly put the fire out, but the eight by 20-foot cabin was already fully engulfed in flames when they got there.

“Just due to the small size of it, it didn’t take long to be consumed,” Duke said.

Skidegate firefighters were also called in to provide backup, just in case the fire spread.

But because it was tucked between Oceanview Drive and the beach with only small brush around, Duke said the fire was contained to the cabin.

People with information about the fire can phone the local RCMP at 250-559-4429, or call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

Duke said the way the fire call came in highlighted the fact that many islanders haven’t yet listed their local emergency numbers as ‘contacts’ on their cell phone.

Until Haida Gwaii gets 9-1-1 service, he said it’s worth taking a minute to list the local police, fire, ambulance, and hospital numbers.

“Get that in your phone, it always goes a little bit faster,” he said.

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