August 18, 2014 - 3:54 PM
SALMON ARM - An arson at a Salmon Arm elementary school was made even more troubling by the fact its perpetrators were children.
Salmon Arm RCMP arrested a six, eight and 10-year-old in connection with a fire at South Broadview Elementary. The kids were picked up by police shortly after the 1:30 p.m. blaze on Sunday.
Police are releasing few details about the incident, including how the culprits, who are too young to face formal charges, will be dealt with.
Salmon Arm fire chief Brad Shirley says crews were alerted by the school’s alarm Sunday afternoon. It wasn’t long before a witness called in saying a window had been broken and flames were visible inside the school.
When firefighters arrived, bystanders were attempting to douse the fire, contained to one classroom, with buckets of water.
“We suspect a rock was thrown through the window then some type of debris was set on fire and thrown into the classroom,” Shirley says.
The debris appears to have landed on a desk and sparked a small fire in the corner of the classroom.
“It burnt the wall and charred a bit of the ceiling,” Shirley says.
The Fire Department learned there was a possible suspect and notified police. Shirley says it’s not the first time he’s encountered a fire set by kids.
“Normally though you hear of kids lighting something small on fire,” he says. “In this case, the degree of the fire... could have been quite extensive.”
Shirley says the kids may be put into a juvenile fire setter program, the focus of which is education.
”It’s very concerning to us. Any arson fire is a concern but when you thrown in there that they’re very young aged individuals, it’s very troublesome for sure,” he says.
A statement issued on South Broadview Elementary’s website states the school is having the entire building assessed for smoke damage and that it is likely some classrooms won’t be ready for September. However, every student will be accommodated using space in other areas of the building.
“Rest assured we will not re-open the building or any classroom until it is completely safe for all staff, students, parents and guests.”
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014