UPDATE: Fatal fire ruled accidental

By NanaimoNewsNOW Staff
October 11, 2017 - 11:39am Updated: October 13, 2017 - 10:20pm

It's unclear whether the three bodies found at a house on Nicol St. were deceased before or after a fire broke out.Spencer Sterritt/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — Nanaimo Fire Rescue has ruled the house fire on Nicol St., where three bodies of a family were found, was accidental. 

According to a press release, the flame may have been caused by unattended candles. 

A press conference is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. NanaimoNewsNOW will be there and will have further details once they're made available.


EARLIER: Investigators are piecing together the puzzle about a tragic house fire in Nanaimo, where a family of three was found dead.

Nanaimo RCMP Cpl. Jon Stuart couldn't confirm to reporters the cause of either the deaths or the fire at a house on Nicol St. where emergency responders were called to at roughly 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. A seven-year-old girl and two adults, who Stuart confirmed were all family, were found at the house. 

"There is a lot of questions and we do have a lot of work ahead of us," Stuart said. "Especially as a result of a fire, it does take quite a lot of time to dig into everything they can and hopefully come up with some answers. But it will take some time. Our next course of action would be to follow the fire, while also investigating the surrounding circumstances based on the results of the autopsy, if there is one. So there's really two investigations going on at the same time."

The Serious Crimes Unit, fire investigators and the coroner are involved in the investigation.

Stuart couldn't confirm why a seven-year-old was at the house and not in school, what the family situation was or if there were any signs of foul play. 

"It's very early in the investigation right now. All our options are on the table and we're investigating as we would any serious event like this."

Stuart did say earlier reports about an altercation at the house weren't what they appeared. 

"Turns out that was a passerby that had spotted the fire and was trying to raise the alarm, which they did do." 

Stuart said the death of a child was a grave matter which affected both responders and the community. 

"The innocence of youth affects every body." 

Victim Services has been called and grief counsellors are in place at Nanaimo schools. 

Dale Burgos, communications director with the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public School District, told reporters any students or teachers affected by the death will have some one to talk to. 

"It's terrible news. We send out a letter to the families of the school, letting them know the situation. Not too many details would be shared in the letter of course, but people do have conversations at the school. In circumstances like this, we have grief counsellors on site for any staff or students who need to speak with a professional." 

Citing privacy legislation, Burgos couldn't confirm which school the seven-year-old attended. 


Editor's Note: This story was updated at 2:13 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 13 to reflect new information from Nanaimo Fire Rescue.


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