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Hazardous air emitted from Port Coquitlam elementary school fire, RCMP warn

Public told to avoid site for several days

RCMP say the blaze that burned a Port Coquitlam elementary school to the ground on Saturday (Oct. 14) has also released hazardous particles into the air.

The detachment is urging people to avoid the area around Hazel Trembath Elementary School for at least the next several days, while air quality remains poor.

“We understand that students, staff, parents and neighbours may want to view the damage first-hand as they grieve the loss of the school. The smoke and air quality is unsafe and only officials with appropriate personal protective equipment should be near the scene,” Media Relations Officer Corp. Alexa Hodgins said in a statement.

RCMP say they also need the area clear to carry out their investigation. The cause of the fire is unclear, but RCMP say they have deemed it suspicious.

Fire crews were called to school, located at 1278 Confederation Drive, at about 3 a.m. Saturday morning. They say no one was inside at the time and no one was injured.

Confederation Drive is expected to be closed for several days as police carry out their investigation. Anyone who witnessed the fire start or who have video from the scene are asked to contact Coquitlam RCMP.

The Coquitlam School District said staff are working on a plan to make sure students can continue learning without their school. Hazel Trembath Elementary School had 204 students enrolled last year, according to the latest numbers available from the province.

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