News

Children accused of setting fire to school classroom

A firefighter surveys some of the damage done when a window was broken and some burning material was thrown inside. Three children were determined to be the perpetrators. - photo contributed
A firefighter surveys some of the damage done when a window was broken and some burning material was thrown inside. Three children were determined to be the perpetrators.
— image credit: photo contributed

Three children, ages 10, eight and six, have been identified by the Salmon Arm RCMP as the ones responsible for setting a fire in a classroom of South Broadview school on Sunday.

At 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 17, crews from Salmon Arm Fire Department’s Hall 2 were dispatched to the school.

The 911 caller advised fire dispatch that a window had been broken at the school and she could see fire inside, which prompted the fire department to enhance their response to include firefighters from Hall 3 and rescue apparatus.

“Upon arrival our I.C. (incident commander) confirmed smoke and fire showing on a west side classroom and that bystanders were attempting to extinguish the fire,” said Salmon Arm Fire Chief Brad Shirley.

“It was also brought to (the incident commander’s) attention of a possible suspect in the setting of this fire and RCMP were subsequently requested to attend the scene.”

RCMP report a windows had been broken and burning material had been thrown inside.

Staff Sgt. Kevin Keane of the Salmon Arm RCMP reports that police investigation quickly identified the three children believed to be responsible for the arson and vandalism.

Due to their young age, no criminal charges can be laid. Their names will also not be made public. All three are from the same family.

Keane also notes the Ministry of Children and Families has been contacted and the police and fire department will be using restorative justice options in dealing with the situation.

Shirley reports that the initial attack team quickly extinguished the fire, containing it to the one classroom, while other teams ventilated the school as there was a significant amount of smoke throughout the building.

Further investigation also found another broken window in a classroom on the east side of the school; however, there appeared to have been no attempt to set a fire there.

Crews were on scene for approximately two hours.

Repairs to the school began Monday, with South Broadview principal Carl Cooper posting a statement to parents.

“We are currently having the entire school assessed for smoke damage, any safety or health issues and then will begin the process of clean up and getting our school ready for September start-up. It is likely that some classrooms will not be ready by September,” he wrote.

“We do however have ‘room’ for every student – elsewhere in the building.  Rest assured we will not re-open the building or any classroom until it is completely safe for all staff, students, parents and guests.”

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