A fire that burned through the roof of Strawberry Vale Elementary was caused by an electrical fault, not faulty janitorial equipment, according to the Saanich Fire Department.
The fire started July 11 around 4 a.m. and caused extensive damage to the school’s roof and some smoke and water damage to the entry area. Once the flames had been snuffed out, an investigation began to determine the cause of the fire.
The next day, Deputy Fire Chief Dan Wood said that while the cause had yet to be confirmed, evidence was pointing to a failed charging station or battery for a mobile vacuum as the likely cause.
However, on July 16, Capt. Carl Trepels of the Saanich Fire Prevention Division ruled out a failed vacuum battery or charger.
“I worked with the Saanich Police Forensic Identification members as well as a private fire investigator and, collaboratively, we determined the cause was the result of an electrical fault in a conductor that started at the ceiling level and was drawn toward a large vent,” he said.
Trepels said that once the fire reached a large skylight in the ceiling, burning debris started to fall and eventually started a fire on the janitorial equipment.
Representatives for the Greater Victoria School District could not comment on the fire or estimated repair costs as the district had yet to receive final reports. However, Wood said with the extensive damage, repairs will likely be expensive.