Arson suspected in smoke shop fire

Posted: February 9, 2008 in Caledonia, Headlines, Natives, Tobacco Kings

Daniel Nolan
The Hamilton Spectator
CALEDONIA (Feb 8, 2008)

A smoke shop at the centre of a December fracas that led to nine arrests has been damaged by fire.

Arson is the suspected cause of the fire that struck the shop at the south end of Argyle Street South, just east of Highway 6.

It follows a fire last month at another smoke shop on Highway 6 and Fifth Line, although fire officials said then it was not considered suspicious.

The fire at the Argyle Street shop was reported to the Haldimand Fire Department and OPP at about 12:30 a.m. yesterday.

Haldimand Fire Chief Rob Grimwood said the shop was extensively damaged. There were no injuries.

In December, about 100 aboriginals and non-native protesters squared off in a protest over the shack, which Six Nations says is on land it never surrendered.

Non-native protesters argued it is not on Six Nations land and wanted the OPP to shut down the operation, which they say was flouting the law.

A number of people were injured in the tussle and the OPP later laid assault and public mischief charges against some of the participants.

The smoke shop fire occurred at the same time Caledonia firefighters were dealing with a barn fire on the Caledonia Fair Grounds on Caithness Street East.

The blaze caused $200,000 damage and kept firefighters busy for about five hours. There were no injuries.

Grimwood said investigators do not believe the barn and smoke shop fire are linked.

The cause of the barn fire remains undetermined. Grimwood said he’s concerned about the situation and is thankful no one has been hurt.

The Haldimand County OPP crime section is investigating both fires and is asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

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