Two more Catholic churches burn down in B.C. Interior

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      At the beginning of this week, two churches in the B.C. Interior burned to the ground in what are being deemed suspicious fires.

      Now, two more Catholic churches were found on fire and have also burned down, for a total of four B.C. churches in one week.

      Osoyoos RCMP announced in a news release issued today (June 26) that at 3:52 a.m. this morning, Princeton RCMP received a call about a fire at St. Ann’s Catholic Church on Upper Similkameen Indian Band lands near Hedley, B.C.

      Then at 4:45 a.m., Keremeos RCMP received a call about a fire at the Chopaka Catholic Church on Lower Similkameen Indian Band lands at Chopaka, B.C. Flames from this blaze spread from the church to nearby brush, but B.C. wildfire crews extinguished it before it could spread further.

      Both churches have since been destroyed.

      Investigators are regarding both fires as suspicious and are looking into potential connections between these fires and two previous ones in Penticton and Oliver.

      In the early hours of June 21, the Sacred Heart Church, located on Penticton Indian Band lands, and St. Gregory’s Church on Nk’mip Road, located on Osoyoos Indian Band lands, were discovered on fire, and were destroyed by the blazes.

      The investigation into those two fires remains ongoing.

      No arrests or charges have been made yet.

      These fires occurred after the discovery of 215 Indigenous children buried in unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Residential School in late May, and the discovery of 751 unmarked graves at the Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan on June 24.

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