Blaze burns Queen Charlotte teen centre

  • Sep. 14, 2012 11:00 a.m.

The Queen Charlotte teen centre was badly damaged in a fire Sunday night (Sept. 9). Fire chief Larry Duke said the volunteer firefighters got the call at 8:20 pm and were on the scene with 14 members by 8:25 pm. The teen centre is located near the centre of town, just west of City Centre and across the street from the Legion. There was no one around when the firefighters arrived, and no one was inside the building. “We found a fire on the front porch area,” Mr. Duke said, adding that the flames had started to move into the building. “We were able to knock that fire down fairly quickly… The building is still standing, but the damage is extensive.” Mr. Duke said that from a fire-fighting perspective, things went well and the blaze was fully extinguished by around 10:30 pm. The fire is suspicious, he said. Teen centre coordinator Kris Olsen said the fire could have been a lot worse, but is still devastating for the community and the many teens who use it. The building is no longer usable, and he’s waiting to get inside and check on the condition of the pool table and sound/light equipment. Mr. Olsen believes the fire was likely started by someone who was smoking on the porch and was careless with their cigarette. He doesn’t think it was set on purpose. “It was disappointing,” he said. “This was an act of being irresponsible.” Mr. Olsen, who has worked as the centre’s coordinator for the past eight years and also works at the high school, said he was moved by the condolences he has been receiving since Sunday night. The good news, he said, is that the village of Queen Charlotte has been planning to build a new teen centre and is almost ready to tender the project. “It would have really, really hit me if there was not another facility in the works,” he said. “But having it burn down is a horrible way to say goodbye to that building.” In the past, the centre was used on Friday and Saturday evenings, Mr. Olsen said. It had also been used recently as a band practice area, but it had been shut down for the summer and hadn’t yet re-opened for the season. RCMP are investigating the incident.