He expressed remorse for his actions but a Kennetcook man has been sentenced to time in jail in connection with the fire that destroyed the community’s fire hall in 2009.
Andre Provencal, 20, was charged with intentionally or recklessly causing damage by fire to the Kennetcook Fire Hall and stealing a motor vehicle of a value not exceeding $5,000 in Riverside Corner on Nov. 27, 2009. He entered not guilty pleas to the charges on July 19, 2010 and the matters were adjourned for trial. Provencal changed his pleas to guilty to the lesser, included offence of mischief causing damages to property exceeding $5,000 and the charge of stealing a motor vehicle on April 18, 2011. The matters were adjourned to allow time for a pre-sentence report to be prepared and for sentencing.
Judge Claudine MacDonald sentenced Provencal to two years plus a day in custody on the charge of mischief causing damage to property exceeding $5,000 in value and granted a secondary DNA order on July 11 during an appearance in Kentville provincial court. She sentenced him to six months in custody, to be served concurrently, for stealing a motor vehicle.
Prior to sentencing, the court heard that Provencal had stolen the car and parked it beside the fire hall. The car was lit on fire and, in turn, the fire hall was set ablaze. MacDonald told Provencal that, had he been thinking, he would have realized that burning the car would cause the building to burn. Provencal said he realizes that he is responsible, although he didn’t mean for it to happen.
“I also put other people in danger, basically, and that was stupid,” he said, turning to face Kennetcook Fire Chief Martin Walsh, who was in attendance. Walsh, who had read the victim impact statement on behalf of the fire department, said, “Apology accepted.” The fire caused in excess of $120,000 in damages.
Provencal said if the roles were reversed, he wouldn’t be able to accept the apology.
“I’d be pissed off.”
MacDonald said one positive note from Provencal’s pre-sentence report came from a flooring company he had worked for. They spoke highly of Provencal as a worker and described him as a good fit for the company. She said he has a substance abuse issue, as he admitted to daily marijuana use, but would have access to programs and counselling while in custody.