Suspicious fire destroys community centre in Nanaimo: RCMP

Suspicious fire destroys community centre in Nanaimo: RCMP
An early morning fire destroyed the Departure Bay Activity Centre on Thursday, say police. (Nanaimo Fire Rescue/Twitter)

A suspicious fire destroyed a well-known community centre in Nanaimo, police say.

At around 5:30 a.m. Thursday, Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters responded to a fire at the Departure Bay Activity Centre, which was fully engulfed in flames by the time they arrived on scene.

The gymnasium portion of the building sustained significant fire damage, according to the Nanaimo RCMP, while an adjacent parking bay, which held the Salvation Army Emergency Food truck, suffered smoke damage.

The cause of the fire is not clear, however, firefighters have deemed it suspicious and the Nanaimo RCMP are now investigating.

“You would be hard pressed to find anyone in the Nanaimo area who hasn’t attended an event or activity at this hall. It’s a landmark building which has served the citizens of Nanaimo well for over 60 years,” Const. Gary O’Brien, media spokesperson with the Nanaimo RCMP, said in a press release.

“I heard it was a gas leak and well second one in two weeks, very curious. As far as I know we don’t have any enemies down here so I don’t understand what’s going on,” said Paul Webb, of the Nanaimo Amateur Radio Association, which is based in the building.

“It’s like an old home you grew up in. The kids always came here for kid stuff, and even coming down here for voting. It’s walking distance for our neighbourhood,” said Nanaimo resident Teresa Wallace.

“It’s really sad that it’s gone,” she said.

No one was inside the building at the time of the blaze and there were no reported injuries.

Anyone who saw a person or vehicle in area between 5-5:45 a.m. on March 17 or anyone with security camera or dash cam video is asked to contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345, and quote file # 2022-8997.


Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!