WATCH: A picture is taking shape of the family that died in house fire in Nanaimo on Tuesday. Friends and family have identified the victims as Jason Stephenson, his wife Amberlee and their seven-year-old daughter Piper. Skye Ryan was outside the scene.
A family member has identified the seven-year-old girl and the two adults that were found dead after crews responded to a suspicious house fire in Nanaimo on Tuesday.
The relative confirmed that Jason Stephenson, Amberlee Scarr and their daughter, Piper Stephenson, were the three people that were discovered after a fire broke out at a single-family house in the at 754 Nicol Street.
Emergency crews were called to the fire just after 12:30 p.m. When firefighters arrived, the fire had spread throughout the building. Fourteen firefighters were able to extinguish the fire at 2:30 p.m.
According to court documents, Jason and Amberlee had divorce proceedings that began in 2015.
David Stalker, the owner of David Stalker Excavating, told CHEK News Jason had been working for the company for about a year as an excavator operator. He had previously worked with the company in 2010.
Stalker said Jason had been away for several years working in an oilpatch. He also said within the past year, Jason and Amberlee had reconciled and were trying to make the marriage work. Stalker added that Jason was a devoted father and was good at his job. He confirmed that Jason did not show up for work yesterday morning.
During a news conference on Wednesday morning, RCMP said that the three people killed were a family but did not confirm their identities.
“There’s nothing to suggest at this point that there’s anything other than a fire that’s origin is unknown and is suspicious in nature for that reason, that we don’t have the origin,” Cpl. Jon Stuart of the Nanaimo RCMP said.
Stuart said it wasn’t a Pro-D day at the child’s school, which meant classes were in session, and investigators do not know why she was at home during the fire. Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools has been notified about the fire.
Stuart also addressed reports of an altercation at the residence before police arrived. Police did receive a call regarding someone at the residence breaking glass and yelling, which Stuart said was a passerby who had seen the fire and was trying to raise the alarm to get people out of the house.
“There was no altercation that we have any knowledge of prior to the fire,” Stuart said.
The cause of the fire and the cause of the family’s deaths are under investigation. Fire investigators were at the house on Wednesday and Nanaimo RCMP’s serious crimes unit was following up with the BC Coroners Service to look into the cause of death.
“An investigation like this does take time because we take it slow and we try to go as methodically as possible,” Stuart said.