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Burl burning suspects caught, charges and court date pending

Two people have been arrested in connection with the fire which damaged a Port McNeill landmark on May 18.

They were identified after RCMP released surveillance images yesterday of two people seen near the world’s largest burl, carrying a jerry can at the time the fire started.

They have since been released pending a court date and approval of charges.

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The fire started around 11:20 pm. Wednesday night. Emergency services were called out at around 1:30 am.

Western Forest Products employees pulled the burl out of its shelter with logging equipment so firefighters could tackle the blaze, which took hours to put out. The shelter was destroyed, and the burl itself is badly scorched. The large bumpy growth was taken from a 525-year-old Sitka spruce, and weighed nearly 30 tonnes.

Former mayor Gaby Wickstrom, who helped bring the burl to town from Holberg in 2005, called it a “heart-breaking act of vandalism.”

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