Nelson’s low-income dental clinic was the target of an arsonist.
That’s according to the clinic’s operations manager, Barry Nelson.
“We have been told that it was definitely arson. Apparently the person who, as we understand it is in custody, did several pieces of damage to various businesses in the community that weekend,” Nelson told Vista Radio.
Nelson Chief Constable Constable Donovan Fisher confirms a person was arrested and charged with arson and is also facing other charges of break and enter to a number of local businesses.
The fire at the Teeth Community Dental Clinic in the Front Street Plaza on Feb. 21 caused $100,000 damage and put the clinic out of service indefinitely.
As for getting the clinic up and running, Nelson says they are still trying to sort things out with the insurance company.
“Until we have a better idea of what the insurance is going to cover, it’s pretty difficult to finalize anything. We tried to establish a temporary situation but, unfortunately, we were using mobile dentist’s chairs and that just didn’t work out very well,” Nelson said.
While there had been initial worry in the days after the fire that some records were lost, Nelson says IT specialists were able to retrieve all of them “even though the computer was burnt to a crisp.”
Five weeks after the fire, the clinic is now trying to work with a couple of dentists to take some emergency patients.
Nelson says the community has stepped up to support them.
“We’ve had some cheques come in and the birthday cheque that you just mentioned was probably received yesterday,” Nelson said, referring to a $1,000 Facebook fundraiser by local resident Mara Sand.
Nelson says people who make donations of $20 or more are eligible for a tax receipt as it’s a charitable donation.
The mailing address to send donations is: 24-518 Lake St., Nelson, V1L 4C6. Cheques should be payable to “The TEETH Clinic.”
Nelson says they will be releasing their plans to the media and contacting their patients when they can start teeth work again but there’s no timeline.