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New Salem man facing six arson charges

Smoke rises from what’s left of a barn that burned early Thursday morning on the South Branch Road in New Salem. The cause of the fire has been determined as suspicious and RCMP are investigating. It’s the seventh fire in two weeks. - Don Fletcher photo
A 31-year-old New Salem man has been charged with six counts of arson following a rash of fires in the community over two weeks. Tyler Dara Stronge is being held in custody until his next court appearance on May 13. - Don Fletcher photo - Contributed

Community was on edge following rash of fires over two weeks

NEW SALEM, N.S. —

A 31-year-old man will remain in custody after being charged with six counts of arson following a rash of fires in New Salem during the last two weeks.

Tyler Dara Stronge was arrested by Cumberland RCMP after its officers and the Advocate District Volunteer Fire Department were summoned via 911 to a home on fire on Highway 209.

A man was outside the house when police and fire arrived and he was later arrested following an investigation.

Stronge made a brief appearance in court in Amherst on Tuesday and is remanded until May 13 at 9:30 a.m.

He faces six charges in relation to the April 21 fire and five other fires at properties in New Salem, including three homes, a garage and sheep shed.

The fires left the community on edge.

Don Fletcher, who lives in New Salem and represents the area on Cumberland municipal council, said on April 19 that people in the community were very nervous and were “sleeping with one eye open.”

Suspicious fires have caused fire departments across Cumberland County to be very active in recent years. In 2015, there were a number of fires in Joggins, including one in May that destroyed five buildings in one evening and resulted in several convictions.

Fletcher said the fires placed strain on fire services.

Last February, there were a number of suspicious fires in the Collingwood area, destroying four vacant homes, with RCMP and officials from the county and fire departments to urge the public to come forward with information.

At the same time, there were more fires, mostly grassfires, in the Springhill area, while another deliberately set fire destroyed the former Lamp Cabin lounge at the edge of the community.

Police are continuing to investigate the fires in New Salem and are asking anyone with information to call the Parrsboro RCMP at 902-254-2424 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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