A man is in custody and residents of a downtown Vancouver high-rise have been swamped with likely repairs after a bizarre incident in which a vandal opened multiple standpipes, sending a torrent of water cascading through apartments below.

Police said the suspect, who lived in the building at 928 Beatty St., could be charged with mischief over $5,000.

Firefighters responded to a call at around 6:30 p.m. Monday night reporting a major water leak at the building. When they arrived, they climbed 37 flights of stairs to find numerous standpipes open and running freely.

Resident Josephine Tang said she returned to the building Monday night and had to walk through a puddle in her hallway two to three inches deep before she could survey the damage in her apartment.

“My place is flooded, all the carpets are soaked,” Tang said. “There’s water dripping down from my microwave and dropping down underneath the oven.”

Andy Brar, a resident who lives on the 31st floor of the building, said he heard the pipes ran for an hour before they were able to be shut off.

“It stinks, it’s just really humid and anywhere it’s carpet is soaked,” he said.

Standpipes are firefighting tools meant to be connected to fire hoses and are found in all downtown high-rise buildings, according to Cpt. Gabe Roder of Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services.

Roder said the standpipes aren’t locked up because “the longer it takes us to open up one of these standpipes, the longer it would take us to actually get in to a building to fight that fire.”

Because the flood was a highly unusual case, Roder said he didn’t see a need to increase security of standpipes in high-rises.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's St. John Alexander