Police investigating July Yellowknife church fire ask for help

Last modified: September 17, 2021 at 4:11pm

Yellowknife RCMP have asked for help identifying a “potential person of interest” in an ongoing investigation related to July’s suspicious fire at a local church.

A fire at St Patrick Co-Cathedral – the city’s Roman Catholic church – broke out early on July 1. Mackenzie-Fort Smith Bishop Jon Hansen believed the fire had been “intentionally started.”

Similar fires were reported at Catholic and Anglican churches across Canada after hundreds of unmarked graves were uncovered at former residential schools throughout the country.


A discovery of 215 graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, in British Columbia, prompted similar searches in other Indigenous communities. The number of graves discovered nationwide has grown significantly since, and the search process continues.

Images taken inside the church after the July 1 fire show burned walls and pews surrounded by ash next to a broken window. Nobody was injured.

On Friday, RCMP released low-resolution images cropped from security camera footage that show the outline of an individual officers are trying to identify.

“The quality of the photos obscures many details,” RCMP acknowledge, expressing the hope that residents may instead “recognize the build, or clothing, or location, as the photos themselves have been enhanced to the maximum.” 

Police asked residents to come forward if they have any information about what happened before the fire, which started at 12:30am on July 1 near 52 Street and 52 Avenue. To do so, call Yellowknife RCMP at (867) 669-1111 or contact Crimestoppers at