REPORTING · 22nd April 2010
Vandalism just never seems to stop and the boundaries, the extent to which some will go is getting atrocious. On Saturday evening, out in old Kitselas, the old school house was set ablaze.
The building had been ransacked and beaten up pretty bad over the past few years as young partiers had used it as a place to hang out away from the City. A Gothic cross and Wicca symbolism had been spray painted onto the floor and all of the wall board had been beaten and broken. The structure itself was solid and secure and the stairs up to the second story on the west end were as sturdy as if they were newly built.
At 2:00 am Sunday morning the RCMP received a call reporting the Old Kitselas School House was on fire. Residents report the RCMP arrived at close to 3 am and took pictures of some of the partiers who were still present. Empty cans of Budweiser could still be seen this afternoon on the road approaching the school house and on the grounds surrounding the building.
There was a church next to the school house at this location back in the 1960's but it had also burnt. Many local area residents went to school there and the current buildings behind the new School Board offices on Kenney and Highway 16 are constructed and painted with the same materials. They are of the same vintage and calibre of construction.
Other buildings in the area have also been vandalized and one, just past the charred remains of the School building, a log home, has had all its windows smashed and wall board kicked out. Very few people live in old Kiselas and those that do are so scattered, monitoring the activities is difficult. One resident less than a mile away from the scene was unaware of the fire today, 4 days after the fact. Another only discovered it as he looked left while driving past it going towards the river.
There is no fire protection and this building was left to burn itself out. It is fortunate the fire was at this time of year when the nights are cold and the land is still damp. The trees were hanging over the building and even so, the fire did not spread.
Old Kitselas is on the North side of the Skeena River approximately 14 kilometres East of Terrace. The RCMP have opened a file on the investigation but report they have no suspects at this time.
Picture by Cynthia Wunderlich April 10, 2010, of the main floor hardwood in the classroom just one week prior to the inferno which destroyed this building
Two pictures at the same location 11 days apart, April 10, 2010 and April 21, 2010 by Cynthia Wunderlich