A young woman died in a house fire on the Malahat Nation reserve early Thursday morning after alerting others in the house to the blaze.
Police said the victim was an 18-year-old woman. Four other people made it out of the house safely.
The Mill Bay Volunteer Fire Department responded to the call around 2:30 a.m., finding a house on Thunder Road, across from the band office, in flames. Firefighters were still on the scene as of 10:30 a.m.
Neighbours said the house belonged to an elder, Tom Harry.
A spokesperson with the BC Coroner’s Service confirmed the office is investigating a death at the location, but could not provide any further details.
Cpl. Gregg Strom of the Shawnigan Lake RCMP said on Thursday afternoon that police had been on the scene all day, and would be there on Friday as well, assisting with the coroner’s investigation, and that a fire investigator would be on hand on Friday as well. Strom noted that the Malahat Nation and RCMP Victim Services had been providing support to the victim’s family.
“RCMP is working with closely with the local area fire department and IDGIS in an effort to identify the cause of the fire,: said Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet of the BC RCMP. “While the investigation is still in it’s infancy, early indications are the fire was not criminal.”
More information as it becomes available.