Langara College evacuation: Suspect allegedly brought incendiary devices on campus
Published Monday, April 1, 2019 12:40PM PDT Last Updated Tuesday, April 2, 2019 8:49AM PDT
Vancouver police say they've arrested a man in his 20s in connection with reports of a fire that triggered an evacuation of Langara College.
In a statement issued Monday evening, police said first responders received reports of a suspicious fire on campus shortly before noon.
"After speaking with witnesses, officers determined that a suspect had allegedly entered the college with incendiary devices," Const. Jason Doucette said in a statement. "It appears the suspect may have lit one or more fires before fleeing from the scene."
The school initially tweeted around 11:40 a.m. about an incident involving firefighters at the Technology Building.
A short while later, police and firefighters began evacuating the whole campus, saying it was "continuing to investigate the incident."
The VPD said officers were able to identify a suspect shortly after arriving on scene. The man, who has not been identified, was arrested by transit police in Surrey just before 4 p.m. and turned over to Vancouver police.
According to Doucette, the VPD's Emergency Response Section continued to scour Langara's campus on Monday for any additional hazards and is expected to remain on scene into the night.
Langara announced that all classes and exams have been cancelled for the rest of the day as well as Tuesday.
"Please be assured that any personal possessions will remain secured in classrooms and offices where they were left," the school said in a tweet, adding that support services are available for those affected by Monday's evacuation.
In a letter sent to families Monday, the nearby Annie B. Jamieson Elementary School said it went into hold and secure at around 12:30 p.m. as a result of the incident.
The hold and secure was later lifted and students were let of out of school at the normal dismissal time.
Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services also confirmed it is investigating the incident and asked that members of the public avoid the area for now.
The VPD is asked people to avoid the area of West 49th Avenue from Ontario to Alberta streets. Those looking to access transit along the closed stretch or road were redirected to 48th Avenue.
West 49th was reopened by 7:45 p.m.
Anyone with information that could advance the investigation is asked to contact the VPD's Major Crime Unit at 604-717-2541 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available