Shawn Curley received the devastating news at about 5:30 a.m
A family friend was returning home from a night shift on Oct. 20. As they were driving through Donagh, they saw that the main building for Curley's family-owned business, Outlaw Paintball, was engulfed in flames.
"By the time we got down here it was pretty well gone," Curley said.
Fire crews and the RCMP Queens detachment responded shortly after.
Sgt. Craig Eveleigh said that the fire was put out but that the building was a total loss. An arson investigation was soon launched.
"We believe that it was set deliberately," he said. "Given that there was no power source to the building."
There's also an investigation into theft as it's clear the building, which housed most of the businesses paintball equipment, was broken into before being burned down.
"We don't know exactly what was stolen as opposed to what was burned," Curley said, "but we know some of the items for sure that wouldn't have burned in the fire are missing."
This is the paintball field's second run-in with outlaws this year — back in June a few thousand dollars' worth of paintball equipment was stolen, forcing the business to close temporarily.
P.E.I.'s other paintball fields had pitched in to help, and ultimately the police were able to retrieve about 60 per cent of Curley's gear, allowing him to re-open for the season. But now Curley is left with nowhere to store what he has left.
He wasn't sure whether re-opening the business was going to be a possibility following the June theft, so this time his family is even more discouraged and they fear reopening might put the rest of Donagh in harm's way.
"We haven't gotten much sleep," Curley said. "We're kind of tired of being targets."
The business is closed for the rest of the year and the family will take the winter to mull over their next steps. The Guardian also asked Curley whether he believed this incident was connected to the June theft.
"Oh yeah, for sure," he replied. "Exact same people. No doubt on my mind."
While the investigation is ongoing and Eveleigh wished not to speculate, he noted that RCMP is working with Curley to identify people of interest. He sympathizes with the Curleys as he's seen first-hand how charitable of a family they are, he said.
"They're very community involved and minded, so it is kind of a senseless act and it's a shame that it had to happen."
Daniel Brown is a local journalism initiative reporter, a position funded by the federal government. Twitter.com/dnlbrown95