The Brant Skating Club is down, but not out.
Fire tore through the Burford barn and trailer that housed the skating club’s Flashing Blades carnival props and gear last Monday, causing more than $20,000 in damage.
“It’s devastating,” said club vice president Jennifer Bosagri. “But the show will go on, the show must go on.
“It’s just now we are going to have to start from scratch and modify the way we do things and cut costs this year.”
County of Brant OPP have deemed the incident arson and are seeking assistance from the public in solving the case.
At 5 a.m. last Monday, a Maple Avenue homeowner awoke to the smell of smoke and saw that a barn was on fire. The barn and a trailer containing Brant Skating Club equipment were destroyed, according to County of Brant OPP.
“(The fire) is being considered an arson,” said Const. Larry Plummer of the County of Brant OPP. “(The Brant Skating Club) lost all their stuff and that’s terrible. They won’t be able to replace it.”
The trailer housed the Flashing Blades stage, valued at $9,000, as well as lighting, bleachers and stairs for the stage, $3,000 worth of extension cords, carpets and props, including handmade lampposts, trees, islands and lollipops.
“Everything was destroyed in the fire,” Bosagri said. “Some of the things we had were hand-sewn or hand-constructed and are irreplaceable.”
Despite the loss, Bosagri said the Brant Skating Club isn’t willing to give up.
“We are a glass half-full kind of group,” she said. “We used to look back at past shows for props, but we aren’t looking at the past. We can’t look back, we are looking ahead.”
Not having a Flashing Blades show in 2013 isn’t an option for the club, which has staged a show every year for more than six decades.
“Our skaters showcase their skills at the end of the year and they look so forward to this,” Bosagri said. “That’s what they work up to. They start in October and work very hard to showcase their skills in the end.
“We know Flashing Blades has a lot of sentimental value for people and there is a lot of nostalgia in Brantford for the skating club.”
Volunteers and board members have already begun preparations for fundraisers and are appealing to the public for help through volunteering, monetary donations and donations of printing, lighting and building materials.
Anyone interested in donating to the Brant Skating Club can contact board members through www.brantskatingclub.ca.