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Fire damages Anne of Green Gables house

May 23, 1997

CAVENDISH, Prince Edward Island (AP) _ This island’s No. 1 tourist attraction, the house that helped inspired the novel ``Anne of Green Gables,″ was badly damaged by a fire early today.

The blaze, which broke out about 4 a.m. at the back of the building, caused extensive interior damage, but the outside structure was intact, authorities said.

``If I were at another residence and saw this kind of fire, I’d say it’s not such a bad fire,″ said provincial fire marshal Dave Blacquiere. ``But it’s the building that it is, of course, that makes it such a devastating loss.″

The large Victorian house was the model for Lucy Maud Montgomery’s popular 1908 novel ``Anne of Green Gables,″ and has been restored inside and out by Canada’s national parks service as a tourist attraction.

Tens of thousands of visitors from around the world make the trip each year to see the house and community where Montgomery wrote the novel.

Blacquiere said the fire was concentrated in one part of the house, but the damage was more widespread because of the effects of smoke and water.

He said the cause of the blaze was not known and did not rule out arson. An alarm system first alerted firefighters. No one was hurt.

The exterior of the building was relatively unscathed except for a hole punched in the roof by firefighters, and a black streak running up a rear wall.

The inside was filled with period antiques and memorabilia. Most of the antiques can be saved, said Alynn Robichaud of Parks Canada.

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