"It woke the neighbours up": Major fire in Surrey sparked by suspected arsonist (VIDEO)
A fire in Metro Vancouver this week has led to an arson investigation and police are now releasing a photo of a suspect as several businesses and residents are forced to deal with the expensive damage.
A charity, a U-Haul rental dealership, and a condo building were all impacted by the major blaze after it broke out in Surrey’s Whalley neighbourhood this week.
Some cars were also torched in the blaze.
According to the Surrey Fire Service (SFS), crews were called to the 13478 Hilton Road area around 2 am Tuesday.
Daily Hive heard from a person in the area at the time that the flames were so large they could be seen billowing up from King George Highway as he drove by.
He captured video of the video, which can be seen behind a U-Haul rental in the Whalley area. Fumes of black smoke and a raging blaze could be seen in the video.
RIP to the Surrey U-haul location #SurreyBC #surreyfire pic.twitter.com/cMQuwrFl6X
— Mr.Badal (@SimSimma18) April 25, 2023
Asst. Fire Chief of Operations Greg McRobbie explained that the fire broke out behind the New Hope Community Services Society building, which operates a charity that assists refugees.
As the fire is believed to be arson, the file is now in the hands of the police. On Wednesday, the RCMP shared a photo of a suspect apparently lighting a mattress on fire.
McRobbie admits containing the fire did “create a little bit of a challenge” because it was so close to apartment buildings.
“We have to worry about exposures just because of the radiant heat from that fire,” he said.
“The radiant heat from multiple cars on fire did break or crack a few windows in the two apartment buildings that were adjacent to the carport structure,” McRobbie added.
The exterior of the New Hope Community Services Society and condo also have heat damage.
Four vehicles parked from the U-Haul rental company and two vehicles from an auto repair shop were also damaged, according to McRobbie.
A resident wrote on Twitter that they heard “a lot of explosions” from that area.
“It woke the neighbors up,” Kimberly Gail Warhurst said in a tweet. “We know they supply propane. We were scared that it would spread but luckily they got the fire out quickly.”
We live across the street in Cedar Gardens. We heard a lot of explosions. It woke the neighbors up. We know they supply propane. We were scared that it would spread but luckily they got the fire out quickly. So sad 😢
— Kimberly Gail Warhurst 🇨🇦 (@KimGWarhurst) April 25, 2023
McRobbie said the sound Warhurst most likely heard was of tires overheating and exploding.
“I can’t say there’s no risk to the public because this person obviously intentionally set this fire which put people’s safety at risk,” Sangha said.
RCMP has not been able to confirm what the motive behind the apparent arson is but it is working to identify the suspect.
“The suspect is believed to have arrived and departed on foot and can be seen pushing a three-wheel jogging stroller with plastic covering the contents,” Mounties add in an email release.
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“This senseless act placed people’s lives at risk. Thankfully, the neighboring building was quickly evacuated and the fire did not spread to it,” the Surrey RCMP said.
“Although no one was physically injured, this fire negatively impacted building residents, as well as a local business.”
Sangha suggests the suspect might live in the area.
Anyone with information about the fire or anyone who recognizes the suspect is asked to contact Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502.