A community south of The Pas, Man., is now without a building for its daycare, leaving 20 children now in a temporary facility.

The Manitoba RCMP says in a release that emergency crews were called on October 18, 2023, at approximately 7:50 pm, to a structure fire at the daycare centre on Airport Road in Chemawawin Cree Nation.

Officers responded immediately and the local fire department was already on scene battling the blaze. It was quickly determined nobody was believed to be inside the building.

an outside shot of the building on fire. Flames can be seen through a window, and coming through an exterior wallThe centre was in the midst of renovations and improvements. Police say they believe the fire to be suspicious. (RCMP)

An examination of the property has led officers to believe the circumstances of the fire are suspicious. The Office of the Fire Commissioner has been contacted and is attending to the community.

“There is considerable damage to the structure of the daycare centre,” said Sergeant Andrew Cowan, Detachment Commander, Chemawawin RCMP. “At the time of the fire, the centre was undergoing renovation after a substantial investment by the community. The 20 children who attended the centre are now left in a temporary facility. The families are greatly affected by the loss of this centre for their children. The impact on the community because of this fire cannot be overstated.”

The investigation is continuing. If you have information, please call Chemawawin RCMP at 204-329-2004, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477, or secure tip online at www.manitobacrimestoppers.com.