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Cause of Lytton, B.C. wildfire still unknown as police look at ‘possible criminality’

Click to play video: 'Multiple investigations into fire that devastated B.C. town of Lytton' Multiple investigations into fire that devastated B.C. town of Lytton
Global's Julia Foy has the latest on the multiple investigations underway into the cause of the devastating fire that virtually destroyed the village of Lytton – Jul 12, 2021

Investigators with the BC RCMP and the BC Wildfire Service say they are narrowing their focus in determining the cause of the devastating Lytton wildfire on June 30.

In an update Monday, RCMP said they have completed a search of two areas of interest related to the possible origin of the fire.

One was a one-kilometre-radius area near Lytton and the other was a two-kilometre-radius area near Boston Bar, police said.

Physical and digital forensic evidence has been collected and several witnesses have been interviewed.

They are now focusing on a parking lot and park area at the end of River Drive towards the south end of the village, RCMP said.

“This area provides access to a foot and rail bridge that crosses the Fraser River. The investigation is looking at all movements and actions of any individuals, vehicle traffic and a southbound freight train that were all in the area around 4:30 p.m.”

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Read more: ‘Unacceptable’: First Nation slams 1-week delay of probe into possible rail link to Lytton fire

The investigation will help determine the cause and origin, assess if there is “possible criminality,” and look at any regulations in place that may have led to the fire breaking out, police said.

The Transportation Safety Board has already deployed an investigator to the scene to assess the potential involvement of a freight train. This is a separate safety investigation, RCMP said.

There are no additional known or reported fatalities related to the fire other than the two previously reported.

Police also said investigators have followed up on more than 15 possible missing person reports over the past 11 days and all have been resolved successfully.

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Read more: Rebuilding for resilience: B.C. urged to redesign Lytton with wildfire protections

“We have heard the concerns of those impacted and understand the importance of having answers around how and why the fire started,” Assistant Commissioner Eric Stubbs said in a release.”

“While significant progress has been made in the past 12 days by the dedicated investigators and agencies assigned to this case, the exact cause has not yet been determined. There are still a number of ongoing tasks and forensic analysis that need to be completed.”

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