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

Give fish in Millstream Creek a step up

Groups hope to build fish ladder on Atkins Road culvert

New Student Ranger Program to start this summer

Goldstream Provincial Park is one of the sites the program will take place

Saanich homeowner feels harassed over unsightly premises dispute

Staff recommending council declare the items on Whiteside Road property be declared a nuisance

Pipeline project protesters stage morning event outside CRA office

Intersection is also busy with ongoing construction activity, caution advised for drivers

Westshore basketball team wins bronze at provincials

U14 Warriors won tournaments this season against older squads

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Turbulent times for outgoing B.C. Lieutenant Governor

Judith Guichon ends term today, returns to Nicola Valley ranch

NHL playoffs weekly roundup

Maple Leafs look to stay alive tonight as they face elimination against Boston on home ice

Electric vehicles more affordable than you think: BC Hydro

Myths blocking road to electric vehicle adoption

Kinder Morgan bungled pipeline public relations: poll

The survey suggests 58 per cent of Canadians believe the company is to blame for poor perceptions

Plane makes a surprise landing on the Coquihalla

Social media was alive Sunday night with pictures from Coquihalla commuters.

Royal baby: It’s a boy for Kate and William

The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to her third child, a boy weighing 8 pounds, 7 ounces.

Trump says North Korea agreed to denuclearize. It hasn’t.

Trump is claiming that North Korea has agreed to “denuclearization” before his potential meeting with Kim, but that’s not the case.

Suspect in deadly Waffle House shooting still being sought

Police say Travis Reinking is the suspect in a shooting at a Waffle House restaurant Sunday in Nashville that left four people dead.

Most Read