A fire at Burnaby Hospital on Nov. 15 appears to have been arson, RCMP said Thursday.
The three-alarm fire, which broke out in a basement-level utility room, spread smoke to other areas of the building and forced the evacuation and closure of the emergency room.
Patients had to be moved to other areas of the hospital as a result, Fraser Health said, and thus contributed to the spread of a COVID-19 outbreak that eventually grew to 55 patients and five deaths.
Forty staff members also tested positive for the coronavirus.
Medical appointments and some surgeries were also rescheduled.
The health authority declared the outbreak on Nov. 9 after finding evidence of transmission in a medicine unit.
The emergency room has reopened since the fire.
Burnaby RCMP is asking all staff and medical staff who were working at Burnaby Hospital, who may have seen anyone or anything suspicious or unusual, to come forward and speak to the police. Anyone who was at the hospital that night as well and who saw anything should also speak to the police.
A dedicated witness phone line and email have been set up.
Call: 604-646-9522 (this is not an anonymous tip line)
Police are also hoping to speak to the person shown in the photo below. They say the person is not a suspect but they are asking them to contact Burnaby RCMP via the telephone number or email provided above.
– More to come