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No ‘active or ongoing’ missing persons reports linked to Lytton, B.C., fire: RCMP

Click to play video: 'Crews begin to assess Lytton devastation' Crews begin to assess Lytton devastation
Several agencies including a forensics team were able to enter the village of Lytton Saturday to begin assessing the damage and fatalities after Wednesday's devastating wildfire. Paul Haysom reports – Jul 3, 2021

The British Columbia RCMP says it has no current “active or ongoing” missing persons investigations in relation to the deadly fire that swept through Lytton, B.C. on Wednesday.

B.C. Chief Coroner Lisa LaPointe said there have been no additional reported deaths beyond the two the BC Coroners Service confirmed Saturday.

RCMP spokesperson Dawn Roberts said while there were no missing persons files open related to the fire, police remained “open to the possibility,” and encouraged all evacuees to register with emergency support services and the Red Cross.

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B.C. firefighters still battling hot, dry conditions – Jul 5, 2021

READ MORE: Two bodies found in Lytton, B.C. following ‘devastating’ blaze: officials

“If you know of a person who may have been in Lytton or surrounding community on Wednesday, June 30, and who cannot be accounted for, we are pleased asking for you to attend any RCMP detachment or call your local or neighbouring RCMP detachment and immediately report those individuals as missing,” she said.

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Police entered the village, much of which as been burned to the ground, for the first time on Saturday.

Roberts said investigators attended two sites: one where the two fatalities were reported to have happened, and the other related to the point of origin investigation. Roberts could not provide a “specific location” where that team had deployed.

“They are open to any possibility with regards to the source, cause or origin of the [fire], so not only are we doing sort of a physical search of around a number of locations, we’re also speaking to witnesses,” she said.

Police would not comment Sunday on the possibility a train passing through the village sparked the fire. Roberts said there was no timeline for the investigation, but pledged it would be “thorough.”

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Read more: Lytton wildfire: Witnesses recount train fires in area before village burned

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“We ask for everyone’s patience to allow the investigation, the time and space in order to determine the facts,” Roberts said.

Federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said Saturday it was too early to say what started the fire, but that investigators weren’t ruling anything out.

“We are investigating all possibilities, I don’t want to speculate on cause,” he said, adding that he had spoken to the federal transport minister about the risks of rail transport amid the heatwave scorching western Canada.

Both CN and CP rail have pledged to assist the investigation. CN has deployed a mobile command centre to Boston Bar, where a train fire was doused the same day as the fire destroyed Lytton.

Click to play video: 'Forensics arrive in Lytton, B.C. as wildfires stoke fears across the province' Forensics arrive in Lytton, B.C. as wildfires stoke fears across the province
Forensics arrive in Lytton, B.C. as wildfires stoke fears across the province – Jul 3, 2021

It remained unclear Sunday when Lyttonites may be able to return to the community to see what remains of their homes.

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Roberts said the area was being “continually assessed with respect to access,” but that significant and ongoing safety hazards remained.

People who wish to help those affected by the fire are being asked to make monetary donations to trusted organizations, such as the United Way, B.C. food banks or the Canadian Red Cross.

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