Second fire in a week in Fort St. James

A suspected arson is the second such fire in a week, but there is no reason to believe the two are connected, according to RCMP.

Nak’adli will be looking for a new site for their Men’s House.

After a fire last week, the old location will be too damaged to use for the time being, and Nak’azdli Band Manager Reuben Blackwater said Nak’azdli is searching for a solution.

“Everything’s kind of on hold right now,” said Blackwater.

One staff member is currently not working until a new site can be found.

The Men’s House offered support for men and various day programs from working with addictions issues to just giving men a place to gather and get support.

On May 27, 2012 at approximately 4 a.m. the Fort St. James RCMP and Fort St. James Fire Department responded to a structure fire on the Nak’zadli First Nations reserve.

Upon arrival fire crews found the front of the Nak’zadli Men’s Drop In Center on fire. The crew of 10 fire fighters quickly extinguished the blaze, but not before significant damage was done to the exterior of the building.

The nature of this fire is considered suspicious and is being actively investigated by the RCMP and the Fort St. James Fire Department.

“Although the interior of the building was not damaged from the flames there was significant smoke & water damage, ” stated Staff Sergeant Paul Thalhofer. “ The damage to the building is estimated at $45,000.”

If you have any information that will assist the police in their investigation please contact the Fort St. James RCMP at (250) 996-8269, Fort St. James Fire Department or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Though it was the third fire in a couple of months, and the second within a week, Thalhofer said there is no reason to believe the fires were connected at this time. There are possible suspects in each case, but it may take time before there is any resolution in the investigations.

“It’s not like CSI … it does take a lot of time,” said Thalhofer.

The previous arson fires included the abandoned house on the Low Road on Nak’azdli Reserve and the Integris Recycling Centre.