Police believe last night’s fire at the world’s largest burl was deliberately set.
RCMP are now investigating, and say the fire appears to have been set deliberately with intent to destroy the town’s prized point of interest. They have released CCTV images of two suspects seen in the area who appear to be carrying a yellow jerry can. They were spotted in the area around 11:20 pm, when the fire started.
Emergency services were called to the site at around 1:30 am. Firefighters spent hours putting out the fire but the burl’s shelter was destroyed, and the burl itself is badly scorched.
Former mayor Gaby Wickstrom, who helped bring the burl to town from Holberg in 2005, called it a “heart-breaking act of vandalism.” The burl, a large bumpy growth that can form on a tree, was taken from a 525-year-old Sitka spruce.
Anyone with any information about the identity of the two suspects or this fire is asked to contact the Port McNeill RCMP at 250-956-4441.