'We'll move on': Archery club owner vows to rebuild after fire

The owner of a P.E.I. archery club is devastated after a fire early Saturday morning damaged his building and destroyed tens of thousands of dollars worth of high-end archery equipment.

"It's devastating, it's my life's work," said Duncan Crawford, owner of Cass' Creek Archery Club in Covehead.

The P.E.I. fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.

Most of the building will be salvageable, but the club will be closed indefinitely, Crawford said.

The club was hosting a clinic and competition this weekend featuring 15 of the best archery athletes from the Maritimes.

They practised on Friday and had their equipment set up for the competition on Saturday. But the fire broke out around 8 a.m. before anybody had arrived, Crawford said.

"I went over at about 7:45 to put the furnace on, and I went home just to get changed and the fella that lives at the store, which is part of the property, he called to say that he just called 911, he could see smoke coming out of the archery building," said Crawford.

He said he'll be working with his insurance company to get everybody's gear replaced as soon as possible.

Crawford said each archery setup costs between $2,000 and $5,000, and he estimates there were between 25 and 30 setups in the building.

Firefighters nearby

More than 20 firefighters from the North Shore Fire Department, located just down the road from the archery club, responded to the call, said fire chief Jason Blackman.

"We had firefighters right in the area and they actually had to drive by the fire in order to get to the fire hall to get to the truck, so they knew what they were in for upon arrival when we were turning back to the scene," he said.

The building was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, Blackman said. He said it took about 20 minutes to extinguish the fire, and firefighters remained on scene checking for hot spots.

'Move on and rebuild'

Crawford built the club about 4.5 years ago. It became an elite training centre with about 70 members.

"I'm probably still in a little bit of shock," said Crawford. "But we'll move on and rebuild and get on with our lives."

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