The investigation continues into an early morning fire at Camp B’nai Brith near Ottawa—whose damages are estimated at $600K

MRC des Collines de l’Outaouais police are investigating a suspected arson at Camp B’nai Brith of Ottawa’s summer camp site in Quyon, Que. Feb. 12, 2023. (Credit: police handout)

Police are continuing to investigate a suspected arson that burned two buildings at Camp B’nai Brith on Chem. River, located in the Pontiac region of Quebec, in the early morning hours of Feb. 12.

Witnesses noticed a fire on the camp grounds and called 9-1-1 around 4:30 a.m..

The fire department was dispatched to the scene. While they were putting out the flames, a second fire broke out at a nearby building.

According to a statement from the Federation of Ottawa and Camp B’nai Brith, there were no staff present and no injuries at the time. The two buildings affected included the water treatment facility and a secondary storage unit. (Both parties could not be reached for further comment.)

“There is an ongoing investigation at this moment,” said Sgt. Martin Fournel, who is in charge of prevention, community and public relations for the police in the municipal region of MRC des Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

According to Fournel, the fire has been classified as arson at this time.

“At the moment, there is no evidence that suggests the fire is related to antisemitism or racially motivated but we cannot rule out that possibility,” said Fournel.

Damage is estimated at nearly $600,000.

In his 27 years with the police force, Fournal said he has never seen any issues with Camp B’nai Brith or its neighbours.

“Right now, we have to keep our mind open and that’s the way it works with an investigation,” he said.

According to its website, Camp B’nai Brith of Ottawa’s mission is to give children between the ages of seven and 16 the chance to “experience the outdoors, learn new skills and develop life-long friendships while enhancing Jewish values, traditions, affiliation and community.”

In a statement, Camp B’nai Brith officials said that the damage will in no way affect their ability to open on time this summer.