Police are investigating after a portable at a school in Nanaimo sustained damage Saturday morning from a fire characterized by a fire official as suspicious.
Nanaimo Fire Rescue responded to a structure fire at 7 a.m. Saturday at École Océane on Estevan Road and extinguished it quickly, according to Jodi Le Masurier, assistant chief of training.
“We went to what was a suspicious fire for us,” said Le Masurier. “It started on the outside of the building. It was one of their portables and our crews did a great job knocking it down fast, so it actually only got partway into a wall so it did very minimal damage.”
— Nanaimo Bulletin (@NanaimoBulletin) September 21, 2019
Le Masurier said she couldn’t comment on possible causes and it was hard to determine if the building would be available for use.
“It looks like it did very minimal damage to the outside, but sometimes it takes a little while before they determine, ‘Are we going to let the students back in here,’” Le Masurier said.
Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said Monday the fire was started by someone who placed debris next to the side of a portable classroom in an area that was sheltered from view by a large retaining wall and that it would have taken some time for the fire to ignite.
“We’re looking for witnesses, from about 6 a.m. to about 7:30,” O’Brien said. “Anybody in the area. Any vehicles in the area in or around the school … fire bugs often come back because they like to see the fruits of their labour.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 To remain anonymous call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submit a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.