Chief Gisday’wa with the remains of a structure alongside the Morice Forest Service Road burned in an arson fire overnight from Aug. 14 to Aug. 15. Two suspects have now been identified. (Gidimt’en Clan photo)

Morice Forest Service Road arson suspects identified

Structure, material destroyed in fire from the weekend, Gidimt’en Clan calls it a ‘hate crime’

RCMP say they have identified two Burns Lake residents as suspects in an arson fire on the Morice Forest Service Road from the weekend.

The two males, one 19 and the other 24, were employed in the Houston area, says an RCMP release of this morning.

One structure and assorted material was destroyed in the fire which occurred overnight between Aug. 14 and Aug. 15.

The location figured prominently as a checkpoint of the Gidimt’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en during protests connected to the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline construction earlier this year.

READ MORE: Complaints of checkpoint ‘debris’ spark controversy

“The area appeared to have been unoccupied at the time of the fire and no one was located at the scene. The Forensic Identification Section was also called to the scene to process any evidence gathered in the area,” said RCMP Corporal Madonna Saunderson.

The investigation continues and information will be provided to Crown prosecutors regarding potential charges, Saunderson added.

RCMP also uncovered evidence during the course of their investigation of a vehicle taken without its owner’s consent but it was taken from an area unrelated to the Morice Forest Service Road area, she said.

“This is a priority for the detachment and could have ended tragically had there been anyone in the building,” said Sgt. Mark Smaill, who is in charge of the Houston RCMP detachment.

The Gidimt’en earlier identified the structure as belonging to Fred Tom, Chief Gisday’wa of the clan.

A Gidimt’en release has called the fire a hate crime and the “latest in a long series of arsons undertaken by settlers, industries, and state agents against Wet’suwet’en homesites that have occurred since contact.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Local Skeena candidates for the Oct. 24 snap election

Current BC Liberal MLA Ellis Ross will be running again, as will Nicole Halbauer for BC NDP

BC Timber Sales’ operations on the North Island and Central Coast to be audited

The Forest Practices Board randomly chose the region to check for compliance to legislation

Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre reopening October 5

The pool facility will have COVID-19 restrictions and protocols in place for patrons

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

In Our Valley: Adam Ferreira

Adam Ferreira is moving up in the hockey world, and he’s excited to see where it leads

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

VIDEO: Tickets now available for the Second Annual Northern View Tyee Fishing Derby in Prince Rupert

Four great locations in Prince Rupert and Port Edward to buy your tickets

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

Most Read