A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

A 36-year-old Duncan man has been arrested for arson in connection to fires at two Duncan-area schools last week.

The first fire occurred at Drinkwater Elementary School around 3 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 11, and the second happened at École Mount Prevost just after 7 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 15. Classes were cancelled for a day at each school.

The suspect, whose name was not released, was arrested on Tuesday, Jan. 19, and released on several conditions, including not being within 200 metres of any school, not possessing anything capable of starting fire, and reporting to adult probation. He is expected to appear in Duncan Provincial Court in March.

The investigation included work by North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP frontline officers, bike section, general investigation section and integrated forensic identification section.

“We are very grateful for the quick work and thorough investigation from the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP,” said Cowichan Valley School District board chair Candace Spilsbury. “With a suspect identified we know our school communities, and our community at large, can breathe a sigh of relief.”

The investigations are still active, and officers are looking for any information, including home surveillance or dash cam video in the neighbourhoods around the schools on Jan. 11 and Jan. 15.

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