On July 1 just after 10:30 p.m. the New Hazelton RCMP were made aware of a structure fire at the corner of Bridge Street and Church Road in the village of Gitwangak. The structure on fire was the St. Paul’s Anglican Church.
When RCMP frontline officers arrived on scene the fire has already consumed much of the church and very little of it remained. There was also a significant amount of damage to the neighbouring community hall.
This is now the second suspicious fire to occur at that location within a week, with a previous incident occurring early in the morning of June 26th where a minimal amount of damage occurred. That investigation is still ongoing.
“Investigators have been in contact with several devastated community members who watched their beloved church completely destroyed,” said BC RCMP spokesperson Sergeant Chris Manseau. “
This church has been on the in the community for over 100 years and was previously used for marriages, baptisms and funerals, however it was vacant and was not currently used by the community.”
Members of the Terrace RCMP General Investigation section are en route to Gitwangak to assist the New Hazelton members with the investigation which is currently considered suspicious.
Police are asking for anyone who may have witnessed anyone in the area of the church prior to either of these incidents, or who may have information to please contact the New Hazelton RCMP Detachment at 250-842-5244