Large plumes of smoke were billowing high into the air Saturday morning in Port Coquitlam, B.C., due to a massive fire at Hazel Trembath Elementary School.
The fire has largely destroyed the elementary school which, according to 2022 statistics, is attended by roughly 200 students.
A nearby resident spoke with Global News at the scene early Saturday.
“My husband woke me up and said the school was on fire … devastating, obviously,” said Kim O’Neill, who is also a parent of a student at the school.
“The cloud of smoke (was) unreal and the flames were sky high. It’s a horrendous thing that has happened to our community.”
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Coquitlam RCMP is investigating the fire and has deemed the blaze to be suspicious.
According to police, firefighters and police responded to the fire around 3:17 a.m. When they arrived, they found the school fully engulfed in aggressive flames.
The school was unoccupied at the time and there were no reported injuries.
“We are asking anyone who may have video surveillance in the area of Hazel Trembath Elementary School around the time of the fire, to contact our investigators,” said Cpl. Alexa Hodgins.
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“Police are also looking to speak with anyone who may have been in the area between the late evening of October 13, 2023, and the early morning of October 14, 2023.”
School District 43 issued a statement on social media regarding the fire.
“To provide support for Hazel Trembath families and update parents/guardians, a community gathering will be held at Pitt River Middle at 5:00 p.m. Information will also be communicated to families and posted to the Trembath and district websites,” the district said on Facebook.
“In the meantime, district administration and Trembath staff are working hard on a plan to support continued learning for the school community and will share plans as soon as they are solidified.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Coquitlam RCMP at 604-945-1550.
Global News has reached out to Port Coquitlam Fire for more information.
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