Update: School fire investigation will take months

Coquitlam, Information Wanted

2023-10-26 12:53 PDT

File # 2023-27725

Coquitlam RCMP continue the suspicious fire investigation at Hazel Trembath Elementary School in Port Coquitlam which occurred on October 14, 2023. Police continue to ask the public for assistance in providing information and video to investigators.

On Saturday, October 14, 2023 at 3:17 a.m., Coquitlam RCMP frontline officers responded to a structure fire at Hazel Trembath Elementary School located at 1278 Confederation Drive in Port Coquitlam. The fire had fully engulfed the school by the time emergency personnel arrived.

See previous media release from October 14, 2023

The Port Coquitlam Fire department remained on scene for several days battling the fire. The fire smoldered under the rubble resulting in hot spots and fire flare ups which was a challenge during the initial evidence collection. Due to the prolonged fire, Police advised the public to avoid attending the area for several days as the air quality was hazardous.

See previous media release from October 14, 2023

Once the fire was extinguished, fire investigators were able to safely examine the damage, collect evidence and conduct a proper scene assessment. The initial scene examination took several days as the area was expansive and consumed the entire school.

We are continuing to treat this fire investigation as a criminal investigation, until proven otherwise, said Inspector Darren Carr, Officer in Charge of Coquitlam RCMP’s General Investigation Team. We understand the tremendous impact the loss of the school has had on the community and the urge to speculate on the cause. Our investigators are working tirelessly to comb through all the evidence and follow up on every investigational avenue to determine the truth.

Since the initial fire, investigators have collected two-hundreds of hours of video, conducted hundreds of interviews and followed up on numerous tips. The cause of the fire is still under investigation and may take months to determine as Police will carefully examine the vast amount of evidence being collected.

We believe that people may have vital information that may be pivotal to our investigation, added Inspector Darren Carr. We continue to ask anyone who may have information about the school, the days leading up to the fire, or may have been in the area just before the fire was started to contact the Coquitlam RCMP at 604-945-1550.

Coquitlam RCMP is asking anyone with information or video between 1:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 14, 2023 to contact the Coquitlam RCMP 604-945-1550 and quote file number 2023-27725. Anyone with information, no matter how small, is asked to reach out to Coquitlam RCMP.

Released by

Cpl. Alexa Hodgins

Media Relations Officer
Coquitlam RCMP
2986 Guildford Way, Coquitlam, B.C V3B 7Y5
Office: 604-945-1580

Email: coquitlam_media@rcmp-grc.gc.ca
Website: coquitlam.rcmp-grc.gc.ca (English only)

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