From The Gazette

Ste. Anne de Bellevue

Historic farmhouse gutted by blaze

  • Extensive damage was caused by blaze on Sunday.
    Extensive damage was caused by blaze on Sunday.
    Photo credit: Pierre Obendrauf , The Gazetee

The Braerob farmhouse, a heritage site the town of Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue had been considering purchasing, was gutted by fire Sunday morning.

The Montreal fire department received the call about the blaze at the vacant farmhouse on Ste-Marie Rd. at 7:52 a.m. Seven vehicles were dispatched and about 25 firefighters battled the blaze, communication agent Melanie Drouin said. Due to the suspicious nature of the fire, the investigation was transferred to police.

Arson investigators were on the scene Monday.

Considering it was an abandoned building, it’s curious how a fire may have started, said Constable Daniel Lacoursière, adding it has not been officially determined yet if it was arson.

Ste-Anne city councillor Paola Hawa, who went to the scene of the blaze Sunday, said she is dismayed that a heritage building was destroyed.

The farmhouse, which reportedly dates back to the late 18th century, has sat abandoned for several years.

Ste-Anne, as part of a draft urban plan for its northern sector made public last spring, announced it wanted to acquire the Braerob farmhouse and about two hectares of surrounding land and restore it for some public use, such as a community centre.

The farmhouse was also cited in Ste-Anne’s 50-page Moving Towards Sustainability plan, unveiled in October. Restoring the farmhouse as a heritage building is mentioned as an objective under the environment and livable neighbourhoods section.

Ste-Anne’s northern sector is currently the subject of an ongoing, consultation process regarding a proposed urban development plan that drew howls of protests from residents when publicly presented this past May.

The Braerob property as well as much of the undeveloped territory in question, located south of the Hydro-Québec servitude, is owned by developer Grilli construction.

4 comments

  1. This is such a tragedy. I am a resident of Ste-Annes and live very close to this building, passing by it almost everyday for the past 20 years.

    I think this event is a reflection on the lack of concern and attention that both it’s owner Grilli, and the town of Ste-Anne’s have showed this once beautiful farm house. If this is a historical site, then it should have been treated as such, not abandoned, boarded up and left to loiterers.

    For years, people have been concerned about the neglect shown to this building.

    I think it is absolutely appalling that although the town of Ste-Anne’s cited this building many times in their ‘sustainability plan’, they have literally failed to sustain one of it’s most historical and beautiful buildings.

  2. I do not think the property owner had anything directly to do with this fire.
    However, when an environment is created where a building isn’t completely secured and left by itself. Only a few outcomes will generally happen; squatters will occupy it, teens will party there, and eventually one of these groups will forget to put out a fire and burn the place down.

    We just lost a piece of heritage and should develop a system for accountability.
    It isn’t in the property owners best interest to keep the heritage building since it can hinder zoning for tall condos (condos are dumb) and cost them money. Therefor he doesn’t care if it gets destroyed. We need to impose fines with the guarantee of an insurer, to create a situation were it is financially more viable for the building to stay up. Once this is done, I guarantee these historic buildings will stop magically burning down.

  3. I am a photographer who likes photographing abandoned places.

    I had visited this house sometime this summer, and it was in disgustingly bad shape due to decay and vandals.
    It’s a shame to lose such a piece of history to a company that allows it to rot, be vandalized, and torched.

    Grilli should be forced to restore it, and hand the property over to the city, because obviously they haven’t taken any pains to maintain it.

  4. I think the property owner had everything directly to do with this fire.
    100% motivated to set this on fire so he can build and avoid upkeep.

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