Tragedy hits Bryson

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Added: Thu, 01/16/2014 - 7:27pm
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Inside the burned out Bryson Theatre

Louise St. Laurent

BRYSON – January 10, around 3:30 pm, Café Canusa and the Bryson Theatre went up in     flames. The BGCP Fire Department arrived within minutes and worked through the night to put out the fire. The Campbell’s Bay Fire Department was also called in shortly after the fire started. About 5 hours later, the fire was out but the building continued to smoulder. The firemen stayed until 2 am but returned at 8:15 the next morning to put out a small fire that had started up again.
Suzanne Romain was sitting in her café when she saw black smoke coming from the walkway between the café and theatre. “I just hope that some of our stuff will be saved,” said Romain. Firemen continued to bring clothes and personal belongs to Romain and her husband. “We can always rebuild,”  said Romain, holding her head high.
The CWL and the Bryson Lions opened the church basement to serve the firemen lunch and hot coffee as well as food brought by the community. The firemen came in six at a time and took turns for breaks and warming. “This is one of the last landmarks in Bryson and the whole community is deeply saddened about this, but we have great fire departments in the area helping us out,” said CWL member, Sheila Racine.
Charlotte L’Ecuyer, like many others, came to watch the incident. “It’s sad. They are a young family that just bought the building and renovated it. The fire departments are doing a very good job. I know the community will get together and help out with the tragedy - that is what we do around here,” she said.
“It’s history going up in smoke and it hurts so much to watch this happen,” said Betty Anne Ranger whose Uncle, Ronald Coyne, owned the Bryson Theatre in 1952. Romain and her husband are more than grateful to the BGCP and the Campbell’s Bay Fire Department: “Without the Campbell’s Bay Fire Department and their new ladder, it would have been all gone. My hat goes off to all of the firemen and the community for their help.”
Perry Kluke who wrote three books on the history of Bryson, remembers going to the theatre when he was a boy and seeing his first movie there. “We’ve lost a piece of history,” said Kluke.