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Barrie church officials seek to rebuild after deliberate fire destroys over a century of history


The police investigation into the destruction of portions of a landmark church in Barrie is ongoing with St. Andrew's Presbyterian officials looking ahead to restoration efforts.

According to Mark Hoffman, the chair of the church's board of managers, there is a lot of cleaning up to be done.

"But it's certainly going to survive," Hoffman said.

The recovery efforts are in the early stages after a deliberately-set fire in the church's Christian education wing and library destroyed much of its history dating back well over a century.

"We have the original doors from this building that date back 160 years, and sometime ago, when we converted the doors, we were able to reuse those and repurpose them, and they are closet doors in the library, and they are charred now," Hoffman noted.

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Barrie, Ont. is damaged from a fire on Sun., Feb 19, 2023 (CTV News/Catalina Gillies)

A 37-year-old man faces arson charges in connection with the fire late Sunday evening.

The investigation is being led by the Ontario Fire Marshal's Office, with assistance from Barrie Fire.

According to Tim Donis, the Chief Fire Prevention Officer, all the necessary data has been collected after a systematic search of the scene.

While the main structure wasn't directly impacted, the building is completely off-limits and has been turned over to the insurance company for inspection.

Officials will discuss alternative locations for holding services until the church reopens, and said they have been overwhelmed with support from the community. Top Stories

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