A Catholic Church on the Penticton Indian Band lands and a Catholic Church on the Osoyoos Indian Band lands have been destroyed in overnight fires, the RCMP announced on Monday.
On June 21 at 1:22 a.m., a Penticton RCMP officer was on patrol when he observed fire coming from the Sacred Heart Church on Green Mountain Road. By the time the officer arrived on scene the church was fully engulfed.
At 3:10 a.m., Oliver RCMP were notified St. Gregory’s Church on Nk’mip Road was burning.
Both churches burned to the ground and police are treating the fires as suspicious.
Investigators continue to liaise with both the Penticton and Osoyoos Indian Bands as RCMP investigate these fires.
“Should our investigations deem these fires as arson, the RCMP will be looking at all possible motives and allow the facts and evidence to direct our investigative action,” said Sgt. Jason Bayda, Media Relations Officer for the Penticton South Okanagan RCMP. “We are sensitive to the recent events, but won’t speculate on a motive.”
Police are asking for anyone who may have witnessed anyone or any vehicle in the area of either church some time between the late hours of June 20 and early hours of June 21 to contact the Penticton RCMP Detachment at 250-492-4300.