UPDATED: Fire at 100 Mile Junior Secondary investigated as arson

A member of 100 Mile Fire Rescue ensures the fire is out by giving the site a spray of water. Of the 25 members of the department, 17 fought the blaze throughout the night from Friday night to Saturday morning. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)A member of 100 Mile Fire Rescue ensures the fire is out by giving the site a spray of water. Of the 25 members of the department, 17 fought the blaze throughout the night from Friday night to Saturday morning. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
A scrap of burnt classroom material blown clear of the main site of the fire. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 MIle Free Press)A scrap of burnt classroom material blown clear of the main site of the fire. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 MIle Free Press)
A pile of demolition waste at 100 Mile Junior was lit on fire Friday, Nov. 6. (Miles Theoret photo, submitted)A pile of demolition waste at 100 Mile Junior was lit on fire Friday, Nov. 6. (Miles Theoret photo, submitted)
The majority of the debris pile at 100 Mile Junior Secondary is blackened and burnt from suspected arson. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)The majority of the debris pile at 100 Mile Junior Secondary is blackened and burnt from suspected arson. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
The demolition of 100 Mile Junior Secondary officially began on Tuesday, Nov. 3 in the late afternoon. Demolition work is expected to be done sometime in mid-January, weather permitting. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)The demolition of 100 Mile Junior Secondary officially began on Tuesday, Nov. 3 in the late afternoon. Demolition work is expected to be done sometime in mid-January, weather permitting. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

A fire lit at 100 Mile Junior Secondary Friday evening is being investigated as arson.

The fire occurred just days after crews started demolishing the old dormitory behind the school. 100 Mile RCMP Staff-Sgt. Svend Nielsen said police and Fire Rescue were called to the school site at 9:30 p.m. after someone set alight the construction debris pile in the northeast corner, where the dorm and cafeteria had been located. 100 Mile Fire Rescue worked all night to extinguish the blaze and left the scene at about 8 a.m. Saturday.

“We had 17 of our firefighters on scene, the fire was contained to the debris pile itself and we were able to protect the excavator backhoe that was on-site as well as the remainder of the school itself,” 100 Mile House Fire Rescue chief Roger Hollander said. “I’m proud of the crew, they put in long hours. Often with these structure fires it takes a number of hours to put out and there’s a lot of fire load (in the pile).”

Two possible suspects were identified fleeing the scene. Fire Rescue also seized evidence and provided it to 100 Mile House RCMP for further analysis. 100 Mile Fire Rescue and 100 Mile House RCMP are continuing to collaborate as to the cause of the fire.

“Even though the buildings are being torn down, there was potentially significant risk to the community from extremely poor air quality to the potential for the fire to spread to other parts of the town,” Nielsen said in a joint news release with 100 Mile Fire Rescue. “Fortunately, there were no reported injuries to anyone caused by the event or while the 100 Mile Fire Rescue extinguished the blaze.”

READ MORE: 100 Mile Junior Secondary School slated for demolition

Hollander said beyond being “awfully tired” he said his crew was fine and had all the resources they needed to fight the flames. He extends his thanks to whomever called the fire in early as it gave them a chance to respond quickly. He asks the public stay away from the scene as, in addition to an investigation scene now, the school is still an active construction site.

The school had been sitting empty for the past decade after being closed due to “failing systems” in the building, including roofing, the alarm system, sprinkler system and the failure of two boilers, which would have been a huge expense to maintain and fix up. Over the years, the school had also been subject to vandalism and attempted squatters, which influenced the decision to demolish it.

The contract for the demolition and hazardous materials removal was awarded to Napp Enterprises out of Prince George. Crews had knocked down a sizeable chunk of the building as of Friday and the demolition of the school was expected to be done sometime in mid-January.

The joint investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information is asked to call the 100 Mile House RCMP at 250-395-2456 and refer to file 2020-3969 or if someone wishes to remain anonymous, they can contact BC Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477).


newsroom@100milefreepress.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

100 Mile House

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes shared this photo of the binders and binders of letters and paperwork she’s received on area roads in the past few years. (Submitted photo)
Cariboo MLAs call on province to fix region’s roads

Minister Rob Fleming said more resources were on the way to the region

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

Murray Casey, president of the Stemete7uw’i Friendship Centre, hosted an online Shuswap language workshop April 27. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
‘Weyt-k’? It’s time to learn Shuswap

More than two dozen participants took part in online class to learn basic Secwepemc phrases

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Junior A team Coquitlam Express is offering all Tri-City residents who get vaccinated against COVID-19 a free ticket to one of their games. (Facebook/Coquitlam Express)
B.C. hockey team offering free tickets to hometown fans who get the COVID-19 vaccine

‘We know the only way to get fans back is people getting vaccinated,’ says Express’ general manager Tali Campbell

Most Read