The Dank Bank was completely destroyed by fire.
(STEVE BONSPIEL THE EASTERN DOOR)
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A cannabis store in Kanesatake went up in flames early Friday morning, leaving nothing but the container’s carcass behind and a herbal smell lingering in the cold winter air.
The Dank Bank, which had opened its door last November 21, was one of the latest additions of smoke shops in the community, located at the edge of Route 344.
On January 8, First Nations Paramedics were called at 2:38 a.m. after the Kanesatake Emergency Response (ERU)’s Access Control Team (ACT) noticed smoke coming out of the roof.
“There’s no more Dank Bank, no more store,” said the ERU spokesperson Robert Bonspiel. “It was cleared out. It’s a complete loss.”
Along with St. Placide and Pointe Calumet, Oka’s firefighters stayed until 8 a.m. fighting to put the fire down. It was later confirmed by the Surete du Quebec (SQ) that the fire was not criminal.
While there was no one onsite when it happened, the director of Oka’s fire department Sylvain Johnson said that they were able to investigate the cause by cameras that were surrounding the shop.
“The cause of the fire was electrical,” said Johnson, “so the possibility of a deliberate act was quickly brushed off.” Johnson also mentioned that they were thorough throughout the investigation as molotov cocktails were thrown at one of the Dank Bank’s owner’s car earlier in December.
“We wanted to make sure that there was no connection, or that it would not start a small war on the territory,” said Johnson, adding that there has been a lot of competition between cannabis shops.
For Mohawk Council of Kanesatake grand chief, Serge Otsi Simon, when it comes to fire in the community, there’s no coincidence. Simon said he doesn’t believe in the electrical cause.
In the past 30 years, he said, the community has had more than 10 arsons, with the same number of attempted cases.
“Arson has become a trend, an acceptable form of revenge,” said Simon. “It’s an expression of anger. There are homes and shops that people take years to build here, they put all their money into it and because they get into an argument with someone, it goes up in flames.”
This incident undeniably goes without reminding of how last year also started for Kanesatake. Sharon Simons’s house was destroyed overnight after a suspicious fire broke out in January 2020.
One of the latest also ravaged another person’s house last fall, but this time in the Domaine des Collines – a controversial development area in Oka’s village.
However, the SQ and fire department both ruled out this one as suspicious.
“If there’s no further investigation, I’m sure that they have their reason for not doing it,” said Bonspiel.