One of the VIEX barns burned to the ground overnight.
A barn used for storage, and with three vehicles inside, burned down in the early-morning hours Thursday at the Vancouver Island Exhibition fairgrounds at Beban Park.
Nanaimo Fire Rescue was called to the scene at 4:40 a.m. and Karen Streeter, VIEX vice-president, arrived as the last of the fire was being snuffed out.
She said a flat-deck truck, two tractors, two tow motors, a barbecue and tables and chairs were lost in the fire. The equipment was used to set up the fair every August.
Streeter said the VIEX has had other break-ins at its barns, with food and pop stolen and evidence of fires set inside buildings.
“We’ve had so many break-ins lately it’s just ridiculous. Two on the weekend,” she said. “It’s constant.”
She said this morning’s fire is disheartening.
“We are all volunteers. We have a board of 12 and we all put in a lot of hours,” she said. “But everything is insured, so we will carry on. Next year’s our 125th anniversary and we wanted to make everything really special.”
Nanaimo RCMP consider the fire suspicious and are investigating.