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UPDATED - Athabasca RCMP investigating Sept. 9 fire deemed suspicious

Family of seven unharmed, but fire impacted multiple vehicles and the residence
Athabasca RCMP responded to a Sept. 9 fire alongside local emergency services. RCMP Cpl. Gina Slaney says the graffiti is being treated as related to the investigation. Photo provided by Alberta RCMP.

ATHABASCA – Athabasca RCMP officers are asking for the public’s assistance regarding a Sept. 9 fire that investigators say is suspicious in nature. 

According to a Sept. 13 press release, on Sept. 9 at 2:35 a.m., Athabasca RCMP responded to a residential structure fire in Athabasca County. By the time units arrived, multiple vehicles and the residence were on fire.  

A family of seven that lived on the property, the youngest of which is one year old, were able to escape unharmed, but they are currently displaced as a result of the incident. 

The words “GO HOME” were painted on the garage in a photo released by the RCMP. RCMP Cpl. Gina Slaney, a public information officer with the Southern Alberta District, said that the graffiti hadn’t been on the garage prior to the incident, and was being handled as part of the investigation. 

“If you see anything suspicious, definitely report it to the RCMP,” said Slaney in a brief Sept. 14 interview. At this time, no further information on suspects was available. 

Fire investigators and a RCMP Forensics Unit attended the scene, alongside the Athabasca Fire Department, and Associated Ambulance. 

Athabasca County’s regional fire chief Travis Shalapay was able to add some additional information on the fire in a Sept. 14 interview. 

“Fire investigation is a joint effort, we focus on the cause and origin and the RCMP focus on any sort of criminal matters that arise,” said Shalapay. “On this one, it was a large and complex incident, so we drew upon resources from four stations: Athabasca, Colinton, Richmond Park and Boyle. The call came in just before 3 a.m., and crews left around noon that day.” 

Athabasca RCMP are asking the public's assistance for any information in relation to this incident (or identifying those responsible). Please contact Athabasca RCMP at 780-675-5122 or your local police. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at or by using the "P3 Tips" app available through the Apple App or Google Play Store. 

Cole Brennan,

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