Officials are vowing to rebuild the air hangar at the Tyendinaga Mohawk Airport after a massive fire destroyed the building and 13 planes.

The fire broke out at the airport in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, located between Napanee and Belleville, at approximately 11 p.m. Thursday. Within minutes the fire spread through the entire building.

"Devastated for our loss. I am grateful that nobody was injured," said Joanne Tabobandung, Dean of Aviation for the First Nations Technical Institute. 

Students spotted the blaze from their residence next door and called 911.

"It’ll stay in everybody’s memory books for sure," said Scott Maracle, Mohawk Fire Chief.

"It was burning so bad when we got here that we just knew there was not much hope of saving anything."

The Tyendinaga Mohawk Airfield was built as a training facility for First World War pilots.  The hangar is home to a flight training school for the First Nations Technical Institute, a post-secondary school for Indigenous students located in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.

"I've been here since 1990. I was a student in one of the first class," Tabobandung said.

"I had my wedding in this hangar. I met my husband in this hangar. And that’s why it’s really hard.”

Thirteen planes inside the hangar were destroyed in the fire. The single-engine and twin-engine planes were for students.

The school is now collecting donations in the hopes of returning.

"We'll rebuild. We'll come back," Tabobandung said.

You can donate through the First Nations Technical Institute website