UPDATED: Two suspected arsons in Langley City

 

Langley City firefighters and RCMP are investigating two probable arsons that took place in the early morning hours of Tuesday in the downtown area.

The fires were in the 20500 block of Fraser Highway, behind a restaurant, and in the 5400 block of 208th Street in an apartment complex.

“It’s of great concern for the fire service, particularly when we have residents in their apartments, and at night sleeping,” said deputy city fire chief Bob Scott.

The first call to the department came at 12:03 a.m., to the fire behind the Ashoka Indian restaurant.

The fire gutted a wooden storage structure built up against the concrete wall of the main building. 

“The shed was fully involved when our first crews arrived at the scene,” said Scott.

The firefighters quickly knocked down the flames, and managed to keep them from spreading into the main portion of the building.

There was some smoke damage to nearby businesses.

“We were still actively involved in ventilating the adjoining businesses when we got a call of an alarm at Berry Road Estates apartments,” said Scott.

That call came at 12:36 a.m. Of the 19 firefighters on scene, five crew members and a ladder truck headed to the apartment complex on 208th Street, a short distance away.

They found residents streaming out of the building in response to the fire alarms.

“They did the right thing by evacuating the building,” Scott said.

Someone had set a garbage can in a third-floor laundry room on fire. A resident had used a fire extinguisher to douse the blaze before it got going, and there was just some minor fire and smoke damage, Scott said.

“We’re treating both of these fires as suspicious,” Scott said.

There are no witnesses yet known to the start of either fires. The owners of the commercial building said there had been problems with homeless people entering the shed behind the restaurant, but no one knows if anyone was there at the time.

Owners of nearby businesses were waiting to see what the fallout was after the fire.

Heather Jenkins has run One Fish, Two Fish out of the same building as Ashoka for the past 16 years. On Tuesday morning, she was waiting for health inspectors to tell her if she would have to throw out all the seafood in her cooler due to smoke damage.

She was worried at the possibility that one or both fires in the downtown could have been set deliberately.

“That’s a very scary thought, that you can lose everything you’ve worked so hard for,” she said.

Jenkins was called early in the morning by the fire department to let her know there had been a fire nearby. It’s the first time in 16 years that her business has been affected by a fire.

The nearby McBurney Junction Furniture and Interiors would be closed Tuesday due to the fire, said co-owner Nikki Martini.

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