Skip to content

'Open again': Essa paintball facility bounces back from fire

'We’ve been pretty busy,' said Barrie Paintball owner after play resumed a few weeks ago
Barrie Paintball is operating again on Essa Township's 10th Line.

Barrie Paintball is clicking on all cylinders again.

After a $700,000 fire two days before Christmas closed the business, paintball play resumed at the Essa Township Line 10 facility on March 14.

“It’s been really good to be open again,” said owner Mike Clark.”We’ve been pretty busy. Last Saturday we probably had 50 to 60 people. 

“But this isn’t our main season. Usually May 1 and on is when we really start to kick it.”

Clark said an addition to the main building is being used for Barrie Paintball, while the remainder was torn down and removed. 

“We actually have a temporary setup for now,” he said. “Hopefully by the end of the year we’ll have the main building back up again.”

Essa firefighters were called to Barrie Paintball at 6:37 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 23, 2023.

Fire Chief Doug Burgin said the fire involved a vehicle parked outside a building, which had a mix of business and residential uses.

He estimated the damage at $700,000 for the building and its contents.

All of the building’s occupants got out safely, Burgin said, and there were no injuries.

The Office of the Fire Marshall (OFM) was called in to investigate the cause, origin and circumstance of the fire.

Clark said he has not heard back from the OFM about the fire’s cause.

“We still don’t have the cause, but unofficially it’s still the car fire that was beside the building that caused it,” he said.

An OFM official said Thursday the investigation into the fire is still ongoing and there would be no comment on any findings at this time.

Nottawasaga OPP also said Thursday the fire was still under investigation.

Clark has said there was a residence, a beach house down by the pond and the building damaged by fire on the Barrie Paintball property.

Barrie Paintball has a major tournament this weekend, Clark said, so that means 100 people plus walk-ons and it has some big weekends already booked in May.

Hockey teams, corporate events, volleyball players and military personnel are just some of Barrie Painball’s users.

Last year it employed about 35 people, Clark said, mostly part-time, cutting trees, refereeing, running the shop, etc.

Paintball is a game in which teams of players simulate a military skirmish, shooting each other with paint pellets that explode on impact, marking the players who have been shot.