Police are investigating an overnight church fire in northern British Columbia and have so far offered no indication of the cause.
Early Friday morning, a witness reported to RCMP that the Upper Pine Gospel Chapel of Rose Prairie was fully engulfed in flames.
RCMP received the report at 12:34 a.m.
Police released a statement later that morning, saying details will be followed up on by the Fort St. John RCMP.
“The Investigation is in the early stages and will be ongoing,” said Cst. Chad Neustaeter in the statement. “Further investigation will continue once the structure has cooled enough to better evaluate.”
The Pine Gospel community has since moved worship services into a nearby curling club. The chapel website also reads “no Sunday school until further notice.”
Earlier this year, RCMP in Alberta declared an overnight church fire in Hay Lakes, Alta. as intentional.
Fire Chief Bryce Wolfe at the time told the Canadian Press the fire damaged history, rather than civilians.
“Main concern is no one was hurt, but at the same time it’s a lot of history loss…a lot of the community around here has been involved for generations.”
First responders found the Hay Lakes church ablaze at 11:30 p.m.
Conversative MP Dane Lloyd last year criticized officials from Canada’s Security Intelligence Service about the agency’s lack of concern for a church fire in Morinville, Alta.
“It doesn’t seem to have merited a single mention by our security service,” he said in a public safety committee meeting in May 2022.
True North in 2021 created a map of 68 different cases of vandalism and arson against Christian churches in Canada.