Coquitlam RCMP investigators have confirmed the suspicious fire that destroyed an elementary school is now believed to be human-caused.

In October 2023, Coquitlam firefighters and Mounties responded to a fire at Hazel Trembath Elementary School in Port Coquitlam. They quickly realized the fire was out of control and had engulfed the entire school.

“At this time, we believe that the fire was human-caused and are asking those responsible or those individuals who may know who is responsible to contact the Coquitlam RCMP,” said Insp. Darren Carr, Coquitlam RCMP’s acting officer in charge.

“We understand that the loss of the school has had a tremendous impact on the entire community and police continue to actively pursue this complex investigation.”


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Police said investigators have conducted hundreds of interviews trying to glean information.

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Coquitlam RCMP and Coquitlam Mayor Brad West are urging whoever is responsible to come forward.

“The loss of Hazel Trembath Elementary School continues to be deeply felt within our community. I feel this both as Mayor and as a Hazel parent. I’m incredibly grateful to the Port Coquitlam Fire Department and the Coquitlam RCMP for their response and ongoing efforts,” West said.

“My message to the individual or individuals responsible, or to those who know something: do the right thing. Come forward to police and provide closure to the hundreds of children and families who’ve been damaged by this unthinkable act.”

The school was home to more than 250 students, who have been learning at the Winslow Centre since the fire.

Shortly after the fire, Port Coquitlam’s mayor and council passed a motion requesting that the B.C. Ministry of Education and school district rebuild Hazel Trembath as quickly as possible.

The motion also instructed municipal staff to prioritize any relevant application and waive any applicable city fees.

The school district has set up an online fundraiser to support the Hazel Trembath community and has committed to rebuilding the school. The province, however, has asked it to explore other options as well, such as additions to other schools or dispersing Hazel Trembath’s students elsewhere in the district.

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The district hopes to have the Hazel Trembath demolition and land clearing completed next spring.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Coquitlam RCMP at 604-945-1550.

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