October 12, 2017 10:17 pm
Updated: October 14, 2017 4:28 pm

Divorced couple who died in accidental Nanaimo fire fought over custody of daughter

Many questions have yet to be answered about the fire that left three dead in Nanaimo. Neetu Garcha talked to some of the people who knew them best.

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UPDATE: Oct. 13 — The fire that left two parents and their daughter dead in Nanaimo on Tuesday has been ruled accidental, Fire Chief Karen Fry said Friday.

A glass angel, a princess tiara and three yellow roses sit at a small memorial to a divorced couple and their seven-year-old daughter, whose bodies were found after a “suspicious” Nanaimo house fire on Tuesday.

The victims were Jason Stephenson, his ex-wife Amberlee Scarr, and their daughter Piper Stephenson.

And while many questions surrounding the fire on Nicol Street still haven’t been answered, people who knew the victims are coming forward to talk about their struggles and their loved ones.

WATCH: Troubling new details in deadly Nanaimo fire

Jason and Amberlee had divorced, and had fought over custody of Piper.

But the pair were nevertheless devoted parents, Trevor Ainscough, Amberlee’s ex-boyfriend, told Global News.

“She was a good mom, you know, she was a good mom,” he said, noting that Amberlee also had two teenage sons, one of whom lives with him in Toronto.

“She loved them with all her heart.”

Jason was a heavy equipment operator at David Stalker Excavating. His boss thought he had slept in when he didn’t show for work on Tuesday morning.

“He worked for us for about a year before he went up to the oil patch,” Stalker said from North Carolina.

“He was a very devoted father, he loved his child.”

READ MORE: RCMP confirm three found dead in Nanaimo house fire were a family

Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire, which has been deemed “suspicious.”

For now, items keep piling up where the three victims were found dead, near a message written out in chalk that appears to read, “I love you Daddy.”

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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