CORNER BROOK There’s no way a burned down town hall will stop Tom and Elizabeth Piercey from having their party tonight.
The couple from Irishtown-Summerside had booked the town’s community hall to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary today.
Elizabeth and some of her family had already lugged in around $500 worth of food, including turkeys to be cooked for cold plates, into the fridges and cupboards of the hall that burned down in an early morning fire Thursday. They had also brought in a load of decorations.
“They never started decorating yet,” Tom said Friday morning. “They were going to go do that (Thursday), but that didn’t happen.”
The grub and the decorations are gone, but the Pierceys and their family and friends will still be having a time tonight, having switched venues to the Lions Club in the Summerside part of town.
On Friday morning, the RCMP said it and the Fire Commissioner’s Office had completed its investigation and ruled the fire to have been caused by a malfunction of the building’s electrical system.
The scene has since been turned over to the Town of Irishtown-Summerside’s insurance company. Mayor Clarence Diamond, who wanted to publicly thank the volunteer firefighters from Meadows who helped their colleagues in Irishtown-Summerside fight the fire, and his town council were scheduled to meet and discuss the situation Friday night.
While a plan has to be formulated, Diamond is confident a new town hall will be erected.
“The insurance appraiser pretty much has everything straightened away now and three contractors will be meeting with the insurance company at the site on Monday to talk about reconstruction,” said the mayor. “One of the contractors assured me he could have a tight roof on (a new building) by Christmas.”
In the meantime, Diamond said it looks as though council has two options for meeting space until a new office can be constructed. One option is a room in the Summerside Lions Club building, while the second is a room in the basement of the volunteer fire department located next door to the burned hall.
“We should have something in place and be back up and running by next Friday,” said Diamond.
There is a concern about some records stored on a jump drive that was thought to have been stored in a safe in the building. It was not there when the safe was opened Friday and Diamond thinks it may have been left out and destroyed by the flames.
The information on the drive may still be retrievable, he added, since the town’s computer system had been experiencing some technical problems and was being monitored from a computer in Deer Lake in the days leading up to the fire.
On a brighter note, a sum of cash that was also stored in a safe was recovered from the ruins and has been deposited in the town’s bank account.
There is also a possibility, according to the mayor, that the Pierceys may be able to recover what they lost in the fire. He said the town’s insurance policy does cover lost contents in the building, including personal property owned by private citizens.