Friends and family have identified the victims as Amberlee Scarr, Jason Stephenson, and their seven-year-old daughter Piper. (Facebook)

Fatal fire in Nanaimo still ‘a big puzzle’

Police, firefighters, coroner still investigating fire where three bodies were found Tuesday, including a young child.

Members of the Nanaimo RCMP Serious Crimes unit, along with investigators from Nanaimo Fire Rescue and the B.C. Coroners Service, continued to comb through the aftermath of a fire Wednesday where three bodies were found Tuesday afternoon.

The three victims have been identified by friends and family as Amberlee Scarr, Jason Stephenson, and their seven-year-old daughter Piper.

Emergency services responded to the structure fire at 754 Nicol St. in south Nanaimo at about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, right around the same time police were responding to a report of a disturbance at the residence, said RCMP spokesman Cpl. Jon Stuart at a press conference Wednesday morning that answered some questions, but left many more unanswered.

When firefighters arrived they found the three victims, including the young child and her two parents, both 45, in the home. Stuart said he did not know if all three victims were dead at the scene. The cause of the fire is so far unknown.

“At this point we can’t determine what the cause was. We have nothing to speculate on at this point … because we do not have an origin as suspicious,” Stuart said. “We’re at this point investigating, with discussions with neighbours, with the fire department, with coroners to try to fill in the pieces which is quite a big puzzle.”

Stuart said all fires of unknown origin are treated as suspicious.

The investigation is in its early stages and investigators are trying to ascertain why, among other things, the girl was home on a school day.

Early reports of an altercation or disturbance at the house turned out to be the activities of a passerby who discovered the fire.

“What we received was a call of someone at the residence breaking glass and yelling,” Stuart said. “It turns out that was a passerby that had spotted the fire that was there to try to raise the alarm, which they did do, so there was no altercation that we have any knowledge of prior to the fire.”

Stuart said it would possibly be several days before police are able to determine the cause of the deaths or what started the fire and weeks or even months to ascertain all the answers to the questions currently surround the incident.

READ MORE: Young child among the dead in Nanaimo house fire

While police have not identified any of the victims, Dale Burgos, Nanaimo school district spokesman, confirmed at a press conference Wednesday that the girl was a Grade 2 student who attended a school in Nanaimo.

“It’s a tragic situation,” Burgos said. “It’s always sad when you lose a family and a student in the district or, rather, anywhere.”

The school district is providing grief counselling to the students and staff of the school the girl attended. The school district is not releasing the name of the school.

“I’ve been told that the teachers are very cognizant of the students in the students in the classroom. They want to make sure that the students are doing OK,” Burgos said. “We, as a district, are sending a letter home to the families to ensure that they know what’s going on, that counsellors are available for their children and the staff and students that may need it. Grade 2s are a very young age, so a lot of them won’t understand what’s going on, but again those conversations have to be had in the classroom just to ensure that all the students are OK.”

Burgos said he did not know the victim and had never met her personally.

Stuart said with firefighters looking into the cause of the fire and coroners performing autopsies, there are multiple investigations ongoing.

“An investigation like this does take time because we take it slow and we’ve got to do it as methodically as possible,” he said.

RCMP Victim Services are working with the victims’ friends and family.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Multiple emergency services were at the scene of a Nicol Street home for several hours after three people were found dead in a reported structure fire. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

Just Posted

SD61 to install new water fountains over lead concerns

They’re installing 350 new water fountains in local schools due to concerns over elevated levels of lead in the water system

West Shore firefighters band together to support men’s health

More than $8,200 raised for Movember campaign

Holiday gift wrapping tips and tricks

Streamline your process to avoid the hassle

Omnibus zoning bylaw sent for revisions to prevent blanket upzoning in downtown Victoria

More than 10 downtown properties identified by Downtown Residents Association

UPDATE: Four vehicle crash on Sooke Road snarls traffic in Colwood

Sooke Road reopens to traffic in both direction

VIDEO: That’s a wrap: Be a Santa to a Senior packages ready to go out

Program hands out more than 600 gifts to Greater Victoria seniors

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

Shelbourne Community Kitchen vies for $20,000 prize

Epicure Foundation, based in North Saanich, will give five groups $20,000 each

Woman in Nanaimo accidentally hands over diamond ring with spare change

Incident happened Wednesday at about 7 p.m. at parking lot near Nanaimo’s boardwalk

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Optimistic Victoria whale watching company invests in new vessel

Banner 2017 tourist season helps Prince of Whales decide to boost service

Victoria cycling advocate makes pitch lor lower speeds on local roads

Group points to evidence suggesting 30 km/h speed limit would save money, lives

Most Read