Two more Catholic churches on reserve land destroyed in "suspicious" fires

Jun 26 2021, 2:22 pm

RCMP officers in BC’s interior are investigating after two more Catholic churches located on reserve land burned to the ground.

The Penticton South Okanagan Similkameen RCMP (PSOSRD) said both incidents occurred in the early morning hours of June 26.

Princeton RCMP were called around 3:52 am on Saturday morning for reports that St. Ann’s Catholic Church, located on the Upper Similkameen Indian Band, was ablaze

Then, at 4:45 am, the Keremeos RCMP received a call that the Chopaka Catholic Church, located on the Lower Similkameen Indian Band, had gone up in flames.

Both churches have been destroyed, the PSOSRD RCMP said in a statement.

“The PSOSRD RCMP are treating both of these fires as suspicious,” said RCMP Sergeant Jason Bayda.

“[Officers] are looking to determine any possible connection to the church fires in both Penticton and Oliver on June 21.”

On Monday, two Catholic churches, also located on reserve land, burned to the ground in “suspicious” early morning fires.

Bayda said investigations into all four fires are ongoing, and no arrests have yet been made.

Anyone who may have seen a person or vehicle near St. Ann’s Catholic Church or Chopaka Catholic Church in the early hours of June 26 is asked to contact the Penticton RCMP Detachment at 250-492-4300.

Zoe DemarcoZoe Demarco

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