HALDIMAND – Around 12:30 Tuesday morning, the only house left standing on the former Douglas Creek Estates was destroyed by fire. Arson is expected as the Ontario Fire Marshall began its investigation Tuesday morning. OPP were also at the site with an investigation of their own.
Haldimand Fire Department responded to a call shortly after 12:30 a.m. and by the time they arrived the house was engulfed in smoke and fire.
There was no one in the house at the time of the blaze, however; Six Nations’ Jeff Henhawk has been living at the house but had just left to go to work when the fire erupted.
Henhawk was distraught Tuesday morning after losing all of his possessions in the fire. If that wasn’t enough, his smoke shop on Sixth Line was torched and destroyed the night before.
“I’ve lost everything,” said Henhawk.
When asked if he had any idea who might have done this, he turned and looked to the horizon for a long time then responded through tears, “The worst part is that it’s my own people doing this.”
Although not explaining any further, it was obvious to him that someone may be out for him personally for some reason. He says that even if these two fires were a strange coincidence, he is still out almost everything he owns, he told Two Row Times while standing in the only pair of sweat pants and sweat shirt he is left with.
According to an OPP media release, “On Tuesday November 15, 2016 at approximately 12:57 a.m., OPP, Haldimand County Fire Services and Haldimand County Paramedics responded to Surrey Street for a fully engulfed structure fire. Haldimand County Fire Services has extinguished the fire and has confirmed there were no occupants inside the residence. The investigation is ongoing.”
Fire crews returned to the house Tuesday morning at around 10:30 a.m. to put out a few hot spots which were still smouldering in the rubble.
The 10th anniversary of the Caledonia reclamation of the former Douglas Creek Estates housing development by Six Nations land protectors in February of 2006, is coming up.
Following two summers of discontent, all but one of the partially built homes were removed leaving one standing that was used as a headquarters during the standoff, and later after Ontario bought the site from the developers to cool down tensions between Caledonia and Six Nations residents, a few Six Nations residents throughout the years have lived in the house to maintain Six Nations hold on the land.
Jeff Henhawk was among the first at the Douglas Creek Estates protesters to defend the land Six Nations claims was never surrendered for sale along the Plank Road, known today as Highway 6.
In recent times, an iron fence and gate were installed around the site known to Six Nations as Kanonhstaton to stop a series of demonstrations by a Caledonia citizens group known as CANACE.
Anyone with information regarding this incident should immediately contact the Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122. Should you wish to remain anonymous, you may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or leave an anonymous online message at www.helpsolvecrime.com where you may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $2,000.