An overnight fire that destroyed a church in Surrey on Monday morning is being treated as suspicious.
Surrey Fire Service (SFS) told Daily Hive that they responded to a blaze at the St. George Coptic Orthodox Church at approximately 3:30 am. The church is located on the 13900 blocks of 108 Street.
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The structure fire was upgraded to a third alarm, which drew 10 firetrucks and approximately 32 firefighters.
“They went into defensive mode because the fully involved structure, eventually, led to a collapse,” Assistant Fire Chief Shelley Morris said in an interview.
Fortunately, SFS says that nobody was hurt. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined, and some firefighters remain on scene.
“We don’t know the cause or origin at this time; we’re still putting out hot spots, then we’re going to send investigators to see if they can find out the ignition source on that.”
The Surrey RCMP says that the blaze is being treated as suspicious and that they’re working with fire crews to investigate the cause.
They also noted that the church was the target of an attempted arson earlier this month. On July 14, a female suspect lit items at the door of the church on fire. The attempted arson occurred at approximately 2:33 am that night.
The suspect in the July 14 incident is described as a Caucasian woman standing at 5’7″ with a heavy-set build and dark hair. At the time of the incident, they were wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, a black tank top, black tights with a flower print, and black flip flops.
RCMP stressed, however, that although both of these incidents are suspicious, there’s currently no evidence linking the two investigations together.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.