Suspicious fire destroys barn and damages home on historic Cumberland property

CHEK

Comox Valley RCMP is investigating following a suspicious fire at a historic property in Cumberland Wednesday night.

The smoke was seen across much of the Comox Valley and the fire could’ve spread further if it wasn’t for the quick actions of firefighters.

The historic property is now owned by the Village of Cumberland and the flames and smoke could be seen for kilometres. Its size took the village’s mayor aback.

“It was amazing and it was very frightening,” said Cumberland Mayor Leslie Baird.

Firefighters were called at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday to the Perseverance Creek Historic Park. When they arrived, a 75-foot-long two-storey barn was fully involved and nearby trees were also on fire. Flames then spread to an abandoned house.

Thirty firefighters from Cumberland, Courtenay and the Coastal Fire Centre arrived to fight the fire.

“I thought, this is going to take a while. The second time I went in there like 20 minutes after that because I was organizing the water supply and everything it was under control and I thought these guys did an incredible job,” said Chief Mike Williamson of Cumberland Fire Rescue.

Firefighters had to shuttle water to the property and it took four hours of what the chief called hard work to get the fire out.

“That’s a beautiful piece of timber and park back there and very important to our village so I’m sure everyone appreciates the fact that we only lost a few trees there,” said Williamson.

The village’s mayor says council is in the process of deciding what to do with the house and barn

“We were waiting for a report from staff on what to do with it. It was past its prime,” said Baird.

Officials say they know the fire started in the barn and was human-caused.

Police will try to determine exactly how the fire started on site Friday.

Cumberland’s fire chief said it’s been several years since the village’s last large fire.

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