Suspicious fire guts Haitian radio station
Published Tuesday, July 3, 2012 10:32PM EDT
MONTREAL—When Haitian Montrealers want news about their community, they tune in to 1610 AM, the local radio station on Cremazie Blvd. that keeps them connected to happenings back home in Haiti.
But the station has suffered a major setback after a suspicious fire.
“They lit fires in two parts of the building, it's not an accident,” says station manager Jean-Ernest Pierre.
The fires came just as the station is trying to expand, setting up three new antennas on the south shore to be able to broadcast to a larger audience.
The damage to the small broadcasting outlet is huge. Pierre says the entire newsroom was destroyed in the blaze.
The investigation has been turned over to Montreal police.
“We were in a position to determine that it could have been a criminal act that was committed at that place,” said Montreal police spokesman Raphael Bergeron. “So that's why the arson squad was called and started the investigation concerning what caused the fire exactly.”
Pierre believes the station was targeted for political reasons. CPAM’s broadcasters have been critical of former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier's return to Haiti, saying that he should face justice for his alleged crimes.
“There are Duvalier admirers who felt that we didn't have the right to say that, and they threatened us,” said Pierre.
The station manager says it could take months to rebuild and get to the bottom of what happened.