WATCH: A significant development in the case of a fatal fire in Nanaimo, where a family of three died this week.Skye Ryan reports.
A house fire in Nanaimo where a seven-year-old girl and her parents were found dead on Tuesday was likely caused by unattended candles, according to investigators.
Nanaimo Fire Rescue said on Friday that they had completed their investigation and the fire has been ruled accidental. Officials said it was most likely started by candles in the home that were left unattended.
Emergency responders found Jason Stephenson, Amberlee Scarr and their daughter, Piper Stephenson,dead inside the home after the fire broke out on Oct. 10. Firefighters were called to the home on 754 Nicol Street just after 12:30 p.m. The fire was extinguished a couple of hours later.
“This tragic event resulted in loss of life to three people and our thoughts and prayers are with their families, friends and extended families at this time,” Nanaimo Fire Chief Karen Fry said in a statement.
Fry spoke later on Friday afternoon and said the fire likely began in the kitchen.
“We’re expecting that the fire started in the early morning hours and because of the type of fire that it is, it was what we called an oxygen-deprived fire, so it was burning for a long period of time and then it cooled down,and then maybe reignited as it spread further inside the house, at which time is was probably noticed by the passersby,” Fry said.
The passerby was a BC Hydro worker who was reading a metre at the home and saw smoke filling the home.
Fry also said there was no sign of working smoke detectors in the home.
During a news conference on Oct. 11, Cpl. Jon Stuart of the Nanaimo RCMP said it wasn’t a Pro-D day at the seven-year-old girl’s school, which meant classes were in session, and investigators did not know why she was at home during the fire. Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools was notified about the fire and counselling has been provided for students and staff.
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 the passerby trying to raise the alarm to get people out of the house.
Police also said there was nothing to suggest anyone else was involved in the fire.
RCMP are no longer investigating the blaze. The BC Coroners Service is still investigating the deaths.
BC Coroners Service spokesperson Andy Watson said the cause of the death will not be determined or released until the coroner’s investigation is complete.
READ MORE: Family of three found dead in Nanaimo house fire identified
The family of Amberlee and Piper have started a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for a celebration of life for the mother and daughter, as well as raise money for Amber’s surviving sons. As of Friday afternoon, more than $8,500 had been raised.