Suspicious fires at schools under investigation
2021-01-15 15:00 PST
File # 2021-801
North Cowichan Duncan RCMP are working with partners to investigate two suspicious fires that occurred at local elementary schools this week.
On January 11 at around 3:30 am, a police officer was conducting proactive patrols of the community and located a fire outside of Drinkwater Elementary School on Lane Road in Duncan. The fire appeared to have engulfed an exterior wall and was spreading towards the roof. Police officers used fire extinguishers to put out the flames and prevent further spread. The North Cowichan Fire Department also attended to stop the spread inside the building and ensure safety precautions were taken.
On January 15 at around 7:10 am, a neighbour notified teachers of a fire outside of École Mount Prevost on Somenos Road in Duncan. Police attended within minutes and again used fire extinguishers to control the fire until the North Cowichan Fire Department attended.
North Cowichan Duncan RCMP are working with specialized fire investigators, local fire departments, and Cowichan Valley School District to collect more information about these suspicious fires. Based on the similarities in the calls and their locations outside of schools, an investigation will attempt to establish how and why these fires started and who was involved.
We are relieved that there were no injuries to students, staff, or first responders from these fires, and that the fires were contained quickly, says S/Sgt. Chris Swain.
Investigations like this with our partners highlight the good work that so many people do to keep the community safe.
"We're very grateful to both the North Cowichan Fire Department and the North Cowichan Duncan RCMP for the swift response to the fires and their subsequent investigations," said Candace Spilsbury, Chair of the Board of Education for the Cowichan Valley School District. "The disruption to our classes at both these schools, especially during this global pandemic, has added a level of complexity to the lives of students and staff that is truly unnecessary."
Anyone with more information about these fires is urged to contact North Cowichan Duncan RCMP.
Cst. Carlie McCannMedia Relations Officer
North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP
6060 Canada Ave., Duncan, BC V9L 1V3
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