Historic church at Saugeen First Nation destroyed by fire

Firefighters from the area were kept busy throughout Sunday night (Sept. 27) as reports came in that three separate fires were burning at Saugeen First Nation reserve – Saugeen historic Catholic church, Baptist Church and historic Wesley United church.

According to a First Nation source, two of the three buildings were able to be saved but Wesley United church was still burning as of Monday morning (Sept. 28) and a suspect was being held by OPP for allegedly having started the fires.  Nearby Saugeen Shores Fire Service also responded to aid Saugeen First Nation Fire Department.

Wesley United was in the middle of a massive restoration. New brick work had been completed on the tower that housed a new elevator and the historic organ and piano were about to be moved into storage to enable interior restoration work to be done.

The fire will also have a wide-reaching affect for the stone dry walling program as all the tools used in the program were also being stored inside the church.

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As of this morning, OPP still had Highway 21 closed from Kewageshig Street to Christine Street.

Anyone with information that can assist Grey Bruce OPP with this investigation, call 1-888-310-1122. Should you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or submit a secure web-tip at www.cstip.ca, where you may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $2,000.