Chemainus Secondary hires temporary security guard after second suspicious fire in last two weeks


CHEMAINUS, B.C. -- Clean-up and planning efforts continue at Chemanius Secondary after another suspicious fire at the school.

Officials with SD79 say that much like the first blaze that broke out on February 20th, Friday's fire has also been deemed as suspicious by North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP and fire inspectors. Both fires occurred during school hours, and both were set in school bathrooms.

Both District staff and remediation experts have been working to clean and prepare the school for students for their return on Monday, and they add that the damages are not expected to affect classroom use.

On Sunday, administration from Chemainus Secondary, principals from across the district, and District Administration opened the school for students to retrieve personal items for the weekend.

Starting on Monday morning, Chemanius Secondary will have a temporary, full-time, security guard and daytime custodian. Along with these precautions, a classroom sign-in protocol will also be strictly enforced until the culprit(s) are found.

Mike Russell, communications manager with the Cowichan Valley School District, says the decision to add a new security guard at the school came on Friday night.

"What this really is, is another set of eyes in the hallways," said Russell. "Student safety is our top priority, and we want to make sure we're doing everything we can to ensure we don't have another fire."

Russell adds that he expects damage to some of the hallways to be completely cleaned up for classes on Monday.

"Friday's fire caused some physical damage to some of the bathrooms, and a little bit of water and smoke damage in the hallway," said Russell. "That should all be cleaned-up for Monday."

There will be additional counselling resources at Chemainus Secondary starting Monday morning for any students or staff who may need it, while anyone with information regarding the fire is asked to reach out to the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment at 250-748-5522. 



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