Two weeks ago, little was left of the Dank Bank after it caught fire in the middle of the night. But rather than throwing in the towel, the owners, Mary and Victor Nicholas, rolled up their sleeves and re-opened within days.
Last Wednesday, with the help of community members, the owners cleaned everything up and brought in a trailer to get the business going again - hoping that they could quickly raise enough money to rebuild the Dank Bank.
On January 8, the cannabis store in Kanesatake was completely destroyed, only two months after its grand opening. Mary estimated the damages to the structure and products at more than $130,000.
“It’s a difficult time for anybody, but the best thing is that everybody is safe,” said Mary. “It is what it is.”
After investigation, the Surete du Quebec (SQ) ruled out the possibility of arson. The fire department, which was called around 2:30 a.m., checked the security cameras.
“Nobody was in the building, but a security guard was there and saw the fire coming out of the roof,” said the director of the Oka Fire Department, Sylvain Johnson in an interview with The Eastern Door.
Johnson confirmed that the cause of the fire was declared electrical. Mary said that her brother and herself were both relieved of the result that came out of the investigation. However, the non-criminal cause doesn’t make it less difficult for the owners who rushed over and watched their business burn to the ground.
“It was a shock, as you can imagine, it wasn’t an easy thing to see,” said Mary. “They showed me where the fire caught and started from, there was no accelerant or anything, so I’m confident it was electrical.”
Mary explained that she and her brother not only had to deal with the incident, but also with community members who were more suspicious of the fire’s cause.
“I know others wanted more answers, and dramatized it, but it doesn’t help anybody and anything,” said Mary. “But you can’t change people’s minds.”
While Kanesatake has a long history of arson, one of the reasons why some Kanehsata’kehró:non were skeptical of the investigation’s outcome was the fact that Molotov cocktails were thrown at Mary’s car earlier in December.
“It was almost a month apart, so obviously I immediately thought it was connected,” said Mary. “I’m not gonna lie, that’s the first thing that popped in my head.”
No suspects were arrested and the investigation is still ongoing.
But Mary said that instead of pointing fingers and starting accusations, she prefers focusing her energy on rebuilding. And this time, said Mary, they will be more careful when it comes to the electricity.
“I’m good to say that cutting corners for a quicker construction doesn’t pay off,” she said, laughing.
Virginie Ann, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door