Two BC Catholic churches on reserve land destroyed in suspicious fires

Jun 21 2021, 2:19 pm

Police in BC’s interior are investigating after two churches were destroyed in suspicious overnight fires.

The first incident occurred on June 21 at 1:22 am. An RCMP officer was on patrol when he observed fire at the Sacred Heart Church, located on the Penticton Indian Band.

“By the time the officer arrived on the scene, the church was fully engulfed,” police said in a statement.

The second fire was discovered shortly after 3 pm. In Oliver, BC, RCMP was notified that St. Gregory’s Church, located on the Osoyoos Indian Band, was burning.

Police say that both churches “burned to the ground” and are being treated as suspicious. Investigators are also working with both the Penticton and Osoyoos Indian Bands as the investigation continues.

“Should our investigations deem these fires as arson, the RCMP will be looking at all possible motives and allow the facts and evidence to direct our investigative action,” states Sgt Jason Bayda, Media Relations Officer for the Penticton South Okanagan RCMP.

“We are sensitive to the recent events but won’t speculate on a motive.”

Anyone in BC who may have witnessed anyone or any vehicle in the area of either church during the late hours of July 20 and early hours of July 21 is asked to contact RCMP at 250-492-4300.

Vincent PlanaVincent Plana

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