Abbotsford Major Crimes Unit investigating suspicious fire at townhouse
Published Monday, July 22, 2019 6:08AM PDT
Last Updated Monday, July 22, 2019 7:18PM PDT
An overnight fire that's displaced two families from a townhouse complex is believed to be suspicious, according to Abbotsford Police, who confirmed it's the same location as another suspicious fire a year ago.
Abbotsford Fire Rescue Services received calls for a fire at around 1:40 a.m. on Lynn Avenue near McCallum Road, and quickly made it a three-alarm fire, summoning more than 60 firefighters and at least 10 trucks.
"When crews arrived here, we had a significant amount of fire coming out of the rear of the building on Lynn Avenue," said Assistant Fire Chief Craig Bird of Abbotsford Fire-Rescue.
Three townhouse units were involved at the time, with fire coming out of the balcony areas and lapping onto the roof.
While the fire appeared to have started at one unit, it impacted the suite next door where Justin and Alexandria were startled awake.
"One of our neighbours was ringing the doorbell really loudly and knocking trying to get our attention to get out of the house," said Justin.
"We were confused at first and then saw the fire out the back window," added Alexandria.
They managed to wrangle their cat and escape their suite, which has significant water and smoke damage.
"There's a lot of kids and families in the development and everyone was outside and safe," said Alexandria. "We did a head count right away."
Several neighbours told CTV News that the same unit where the fire appears to have started was also the site of a suspicious car fire last year.
Police have confirmed the fire last year was under investigation in the same back alley, but won't say if they believe the two fires are connected.
Major crimes investigators are working alongside fire investigators to determine the cause and any potential links. While one neighbour told CTV News he'd seen surveillance images with a dark-coloured SUV and man on a bicycle in the moments before the fire, APD would not confirm they're in possession of such a video nor that they have any suspect descriptions.
While several units were evacuated from their suites overnight as a precaution, most were allowed back home early Monday morning.
Bird credits modern construction standards with keeping the damage to a minimum.
"We're very fortunate that it's a newer building and there's fire separations even in the attic area between each suite," he said.
"It's isolated it so that only two suites have the main bulk of the damage."
This is a developing story and will continue to be updated.