A Woodstock man is facing arson charges in connection to a pair of fires that burned in Woodstock over the last few days, the most recent at the Woodstock Fairgrounds.
Police say they responded to the fire on Nellis Street at around 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday for the fairgrounds fire. One barn was destroyed by the fire, Deputy Fire Chief Trevor Shea said, while three other buildings were damaged in the blaze.
Altogether, seven firetrucks responded to the blaze.
Firefighters are fighting a large fire at Woodstock Fairgrounds. Please give all emergency responders room to work and avoid the area. pic.twitter.com/436kkxHo4K— Woodstock Fire Dept (@WoodstockFireDe) September 2, 2020
Members of the city’s agricultural society told CTV News that the barn is a piece of Woodstock history that has been reduced to ashes.
“It is a huge loss for the agricultural community. We used to have cattle sales in there, the fair in there, it’s a huge impact that it has made on the agricultural society,” said Karen Trick, member of the Woodstock Agricultural Society.
She said she was in disbelief watching it go up in flames.
“I’m so heartbroken. I never seen anything like it in my life and I don’t want to see anything like it ever again.”
In a news release issued Wednesday, police said they had also investigated a structure fire near Bay Street back on Aug. 29.September 1, 2020 September 1, 2020
The Canine Unit was called in to find the suspected arsonist while fire crews managed the fairgrounds blaze. A police officer saw a man who matched the description of the Bay Street arson investigation, and they were later able to arrest him after he fled the area.
The accused, 46, was charged with two counts of arson – damage to property. He was held in custody to wait for a bail hearing, officials said. They have not released his name.
Woodstock police say the pair of fires caused "millions of dollars in damages."
With reporting by CTV News Kitchener's Jeff Pickel