May 10, 2021 by The Canadian Press
The Quebec government on Sunday announced plans to rebuild a historic courthouse in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region that was heavily damaged by fire and smoke the previous night.
Andree Laforest, the legislature member for the region, confirmed the province would help rebuild the Roberval court building.
Quebec provincial police said the fire broke out at about 7 p.m. on Saturday, and required several local fire departments to help put out the blaze.
A video broadcast by local media outlet L’Etoile du Lac showed flames and smoke shooting from the roof of the Victorian-style building, which was under renovation.
Police erected a safety perimeter around the site and several nearby homes were evacuated. Nobody was in the building at the time of the fire.
A document produced by the city and the province’s culture ministry says the pink granite building designed by architect Joseph-Pierre Ouellet was built in 1910 and was meant to resemble Quebec City’s Parliament.
Quebec Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette was one of several politicians who took to Twitter to express his shock at the fire.
“We knew to what point this project was important to the community and we share the citizens’ sadness,” he wrote Sunday morning.
“I will be talking today with local officials in order to plan the next steps. But one thing is certain, we intend to rebuild.”
Officials said Sunday that the province’s infrastructure society would evaluate the scale of the damage and determine the next steps to take.
Legal proceedings that were scheduled at the courthouse will be held remotely for the next few days before being moved to other court buildings in nearby cities.
Feature image by iStock.com/vmargineanu