Fire at Burnaby Hospital which contributed to deadly COVID-19 outbreak now deemed arson

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The fire broke out on the second floor of the north wing of Burnaby Hospital Nov. 15. (CBC News/Ryan Stelting)

Burnaby RCMP say the fire that broke out at Burnaby Hospital in the evening hours of Nov. 15 was a deliberate act of arson.

It caused extensive smoke and water damage, led to the closure of the emergency room and forced patients and staff to evacuate the building.

Patients had to be moved to other areas of the hospital, which Fraser Health said contributed to the spread of COVID-19. The hospital has since had two separate outbreaks.

In the first outbreak following the fire on Nov. 24, five people died, while 55 patients tested positive for COVID-19. Another 40 staff were under investigation to determine whether they had any connection to the outbreak.

Police are asking all staff who were working at the hospital on that date, or anyone who may have seen anyone or anything suspicious to come forward and speak to police. They have dedicated a witness phone line and email address for tips:

Call: 604-646-9522 (This is not an anonymous tip line.)

Email: bghfire@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

Police are also hoping to speak to the person shown in the photo below. They say the person is not a suspect, but they're asking them to contact RCMP through the number or email address provided.

Burnaby RCMP
Burnaby RCMP