Beban Park barn burns down overnight, VIEx equipment lost to the flames

By NanaimoNewsNOW Staff
October 11, 2018 - 8:29am Updated: October 11, 2018 - 9:45am

The barn at Beban Park, used by the VIeX to store their equipment, seen early Thursday morning. submitted/Katy Gilmour

Nanaimo Fire Rescue at the VIeX barn at Beban Park, sifting through the wreckage after an early Thursday morning fire.Ian Holmes/NanaimoNewsNOW

VIeX VP Karen Streeter says they've had numerous incidents in the past of people breaking in and starting small fires for warmth.Ian Holmes/NanaimoNewsNOW

VIeX vice president Karen Streeter, who says it's "totally disheartening" to see another fire damage their equipment at Beban Park.Ian Holmes/NanaimoNewsNOW

Several trucks and tractors were inside the barn used by the VIeX when it burned down Thursday morning. Dom Abassi/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — The barn used by the Vancouver Island Exhibition to store their equipment has burned down at Beban Park. 

The entire barn was engulfed in flames around 4:30 a.m. There were two tractors, a flat bed truck, some small tow motors and a substantial amount of tools and supplies used for the event inside the barn.

 

Karen Streeter, vice-president of the exhibition, told NanaimoNewsNOW it's "totally disheartening" to see much of what they own go up in smoke. 

"We're all volunteers and we try the best we can to put on the fair and do what we can. To see this happen...it's totally disheartening," she said from the scene. 

 

 

This is the second fire incident to affect the exhibition this year. Their ticket booths, left outside to be worked on, were torched as well earlier this summer. 

"It's constant, we have break-ins down here all the time," Streeter said. "We had two on the weekend and more last week. There's really nothing to steal but they just keep breaking in."

Streeter said people breaking into the barns at Beban Park and lightning small fires to stay warm at night is an ongoing problem.

Insurance is expected to cover the loss of the trucks, but Streeter said it can't repair the emotional damage of seeing the barn go up in flames. 

The structure, one of seven used for the 124-year-old fair, was also used to house bunny rabbits for the popular annual gathering. 

 

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