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Update: Block of classrooms damaged in weekend fire at Coquitlam alternative school

Investigators were on the scene at CABE Secondary School Monday after a fire that damaged multiple classrooms on the weekend. Coquitlam RCMP's arson team is investigating the cause of the blaze.
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Investigators meet outside the Coquitlam Alternate Basic Education secondary school after assessing damage caused to the facility by a fire early Saturday morning.

Officials are waiting for more information about the full scale of damage at a Coquitlam secondary school from a fire on the weekend.

The Coquitlam Alternative Basic Education Secondary School (CABE), located in the 1400-block Foster Avenue, is currently closed due to damage.

Deputy Fire Chief Shawn Davidson confirmed at least two classrooms on the west side of the building were engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.

"It was a big event," said Davidson, who noted that the blaze was a two-alarm fire and 28 crew members plus two fire chiefs responded after receiving the call at 12:30 a.m. Saturday, June 4.

The school has since been deemed unsafe after the Saturday morning blaze and students are being moved to classrooms at nearby Winslow Centre 1100 Winslow Ave. tomorrow, Tuesday (June 7) to allow investigators to complete an investigation, officials to do a damage assessment and for repairs to take place.

School District 43 spokesperson Ken Hoff said the fire was contained to a block of classrooms but more work needs to be done to assess the degree of smoke and water damage.

Fortunately, a renovated chef's kitchen doesn't appear to be affected, however, "a full assessment has not been completed," Hoff confirmed.

In the meantime, approximately 150 students will be accommodated at Winslow Centre "thanks to district staff and International Education staff that mobilized over the weekend and into Monday to prepare learning spaces," Hoff said.

Tips sought in weekend fire at Coquitlam alternative school

Arson is suspected in the blaze and the Coquitlam RCMP Arson Unit has assumed conduct of the investigation.

In a press release, spokesperson Cpl. Paige Kuz stated the cause is still under investigation.

She added that "assistance from the public is critical in these types of investigations, no one tip or detail is too small, any information you may have regarding this investigation is valuable to us."

Police are seeking potential witnesses to the CABE fire as well as video footage, including dash cam, business and residential surveillance.

Anyone with more information is encouraged to call Coquitlam RCMP at 604-945-1550 and quote file-number 2022-13914.

CABE is a school for students aged 16 to 18 that, according to its website, offers individualized, self-paced learning​ and a small-classroom environment.

— with files from Kyle Balzer

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