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Fire that burned B.C. school to the ground was human caused: Police

Hazel Trembath Elementary in Port Coquitlam was destroyed in a fire on Oct. 14, 2023

RCMP say they believe a fire that burned a Port Coquitlam school to the ground was human caused.

Insp. Darren Carr said Friday (March 1) that Mounties are now asking those responsible, or people who may know who’s responsible, for the fire at Hazel Trembath Elementary to contact Coquitlam RCMP.

“We understand that the loss of the school has had tremendous impact on the entire community and police continue to actively pursue this complex investigation,” said Carr, the Coquitlam RCMP’s acting officer in charge.

Coquitlam RCMP is still investigating, and officers have interviewed or spoken to hundreds of people “utilized various police techniques and brought in experts to assist,” notes a release from police.

Emergency crews responded to the fire at Hazel Trembath in the early hours of Oct. 14, 2023. Police said the school was fully engulfed in flames by the time crews arrived.

The school was unoccupied at the time of the fire and there were no reported injuries.

In the weeks after the fire, police collected more than 200 hours of surveillance footage. Carr said at the time it could take months to determine the cause.

READ MORE: Cause of Port Coquitlam school fire could take months to determine: RCMP

Eight days after the fire, the Coquitlam school district set up the Hazel Trembath students in the nearby Winslow Resource Centre as a long-term but temporary school site. The community also raised more than $70,000 in two weeks to help staff buy new supplies.

Lauren Collins

About the Author: Lauren Collins

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media's national team, after my journalism career took me across B.C. since I was 19 years old.
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