The Thornhill fire department responded to a blaze at the Usk Pioneer Chapel early Friday morning. When they arrived, the team immediately noticed the damage that was done to the small historic church.

"We could definitely see smoke emanating from the top rear of the chapel. Inside, there were some wooden ornaments or church-related symbols on the back wall that were of wooden nature that had caught fire. A section of the back wall had also been burnt," says Thornhill Fire Chief, Rick Boehm. "This will be tagged as suspicious in nature due to the fact it would likely have to require some human context as to why or how this may have happened."

Extensive damage was caused by the fire and due to its location, fire insurance was not available. However, the chapel's Building and Grounds team is optimistic about the repairing stage.

The Terrace Christian Reformed Church is accepting donations on their website to help with the repairs.

"We’re actually looking at a GoFundMe program to offset some of the costs that we will be expecting and hopefully the money comes in for that," adds Building and Grounds Manager, Rolf VandeVelde. "The GoFundMe is available through our Facebook page and our church website."

In 1967, the Terrace Christian Reformed Church built this small chapel at Usk as a gift to the community and to mark 100 years since Canada’s confederation. Community members are feeling heartborken seeing the damage that was done to their beloved space.

"This little chapel has been here for so many decades and everybody, one way or another, has a story that can be related back to this space," says Chief Boehm. 

Some repairs to the back wall of the chapel were made on Saturday, but the community still continues to come together to fix up their small chapel that they have grown to cherish throughout the years.

To make a donation to support the repair efforts, visit Terrace Christian Reformed Church's giving page and select “Usk Chapel” from the drop-down menu.