The Vancouver Police Department is investigating three fires set in Chinatown on the night of April 4.
Early Tuesday morning, the VPD tweeted, “Officers on foot patrol discovered two garbage containers on fire near Main and East Pender just after 8 pm yesterday. A third fire was discovered two hours later nearby,” says the tweet.
“Fortunately, no injuries occurred.”
Kenny Gemmill, Assistant Chief of Operations for Vancouver Fire Rescue Services, says the first fire was set at 254 East Pender Street, near Gore Avenue.
Just before 10:30 pm, crews found a fire behind a security fence. All the sprinklers in the building were going off, which probably helped contain the flames.
Gemmill says they figured the fuel for the fire was “probably rubbish.”
“Or it was some sort of suspicious fire that someone had lit, managed to smash the window, and then set off the sprinkler in the storefront of that address,” he said.
Shortly afterward, two dumpster fires were set behind the alley behind 254 East Pender Street.
“It seems odd that three fires were within the same block. You know, one was in front and one was behind in the alley,” said Gemmill.
In an email to Daily Hive sent April 6, the VPD confirmed that the fires were no accident.
“These fires were deliberately set and we are investigating. Suspects have not yet been identified but we are collecting evidence,” they said.
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Peter Meiszner, who is running for Vancouver City Council in the fall, responded to the tweet saying Chinatown needs locals’ support “more than ever.”
#ChinatownYVR needs our support more than ever. If you have the means, please consider patronizing some of the great businesses, from grocers, to restaurants and mom-and-pops that make up this vibrant, historic neighbourhood. https://t.co/FP0b1o64dK
— Peter Meiszner for Vancouver City Council (@PeterMeiszner) April 5, 2022
“If you have the means, please consider patronizing some of the great businesses, from grocers to restaurants and mom-and-pops that make up this vibrant, historic neighbourhood,” he said.
And Lorraine Lowe, Executive Director of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, sent a photo of a burnt-out fire on East Pender Street in front of Mah Wah Hotel.
This was last night East Pender in front of Mah Wah Hotel at apprx 10:20pm. #vanpoli #chinatownyvr. It is becoming more apparent daily that these incidents happening (going unreported) are targeted towards our neighborhood already struggling. pic.twitter.com/QRlVIDhPkh
— Lorraine Lowe (@lorrainelowe_) April 5, 2022
That was at about 10:20 pm on April 4, only a few minutes before Vancouver Fire Services got the call.