Kahnawake Peacekeepers are asking the public for help as stills from a video camera at Plaza 138 were released, with two males fleeing the scene quickly.
The Eastern Door also obtained copies of the video, which give some clues as to who lit the fire that burned the main part of the plaza down.
The Kahnawake Fire Brigade received a call at 3:17 a.m. Thursday, January 12, and by the time firefighters arrived, the main part of the plaza was destroyed.
PKs are searching for information on the SUV, which can be seen pulling into the Plaza 138 parking lot 13 seconds before 2:59 a.m. (according to the time stamp on camera two, which actually says PM).
On the same camera the white SUV is seen leaving the scene at 3:05 (again, it says PM but was a.m.) and 38 seconds.
In camera three, the lead man is wearing a light-coloured hoodie, carrying two items in his right hand, wearing gloves, and what appear to be jogging pants (or loose-fitting pants).
In the same camera shot, a second man is wearing a dark-coloured coat with a light-coloured under sweater, and a white tuque, carrying a gas can in each hand, with dark shoes or boots.
They are captured walking slowly and carefully as ice had accumulated in that area behind the garage (which is next to the main part of the plaza, where an empty unit was).
It appears the empty unit was lit on fire, although cameras don’t catch the actual ignition.
Earlier reports said the fire started in the adjacent unit that was rented by the HR (High Roller) Kustom Motorcycle Shop.
Exactly a minute-and-a-half after the men are first caught on camera a bright light caused by an intense flame can be seen behind Plaza 138.
The time stamp on the third camera is 3:04 (and 44 seconds) – again, p.m. but it was actually a.m.
The men then run past camera three and are completely out of view eight seconds later.
The fire intensifies and plastic bags and other debris can be seen blowing around on that camera.
Camera one shows a different camera angle that includes the barber pole outside the newly opened Legendz Barber Shop, in which the two men can be seen running away from a further distance.
The time stamp on that camera also erroneously says PM instead of a.m.
Although the Horne family, which has owned the building for 20 years, had insurance, tenants like 99 Resto Bar and HR Kustom Motorcycle Shop did not.
An updated, estimated total from last week’s financial hit for HR Kustom Motorcycle Shop came in at 25 motorcycles and around $500,000 worth of bikes, tools and other effects.
Assistant PK chief Jody Diabo said the results of the Surete du Quebec-led investigation were not available as of presstime.
Sweety’s Homemade Ice Cream shop and A1 Tickets were also burned to the ground, along with a parked car from one of the tenants in the part of Plaza 138 that was not touched, and is separate from the main building.
Eastern Door Editor/Publisher Steve Bonspiel started his journalism career in January 2003 with The Nation magazine, a newspaper serving the Cree of northern Quebec.
Since that time, he has won numerous regional and national awards for his in-depth, impassioned writing on a wide variety of subjects, including investigative pieces, features, editorials, columns, sports, human interest and hard news.
He has freelanced for the Montreal Gazette, Toronto Star, Windspeaker, Nunatsiaq News, Calgary Herald, Native Peoples Magazine, and other publications.
Among Steve's many awards is the Paul Dumont-Frenette Award for journalist of the year with the Quebec Community Newspapers Association in 2015, and a back-to-back win in 2010/11 in the Canadian Association of Journalists' community category - one of which also garnered TED a short-list selection of the prestigious Michener award.
He was also Quebec Community Newspapers Association president from 2012 to 2019, and continues to strive to build bridges between Native and non-Native communities for a better understanding of each other.