Neighbour who put out East Vancouver blaze with garden hose now searching for suspect
VANCOUVER -- Adrian thought the yelling coming from the lane behind his home last Wednesday morning was bizarre.
It was just before 6 a.m., and he wasn’t even fully awake.
“I ran to the back deck and looked out my back window, and I immediately saw smoke rising from my alley,” he said.
A neighbour who had driven up on the blaze, which appeared to have been sparked in a box of donated items at the base of a hydro poll near East 20th Avenue and Renfrew Street, had tried to put it out with his flask of coffee.
Adrian went for the garden hose.
Firefighters showed up minutes later.
But it wasn’t until Adrian and other neighbours checked their home surveillance cameras that they realized the arsonist had been caught in the act.
“(We) just had this beautiful shot of him actually doing it,” Adrian said.
He asked that his last name not be used over concerns he could face retaliation.
A neighbour, who gave her first name as Luna, confirmed her family’s laneway camera had recorded a clear frontal view of the suspect as he approached the crime scene.
Other video provided by neighbours shows the man, wearing a black and white tracksuit, white sneakers, and walking with a distinctive gait, stop and crouch down near the box, then after a few moments, walk away.
Within seconds, video shows a plume of a smoke growing from the box. And moments later, full on flames.
Luna told CTV News she was shocked.
"Everybody’s very nice, a very peaceful neighbourhood,” she said, adding that a community centre, park, and school are just steps away.
“I dont know what happened. Why people set fire randomly,” Lunda said.
Vancouver Police confirmed to CTV News they are investigating the blaze, with no arrests made or suspects identified.
“We are reviewing the circumstances, including the location, suspect description, and MO to determine if this has links to any similar incidents in the area,” wrote Sgt. Steve Addison.
VPD also noted that this year, as of June 13, there have been 160 “incidents” related to arson, about the same number for the same period last year.
Adrian, who said he had spoken with fire investigators, edited together video from different neighbours’ cameras and uploaded it to YouTube.
“If there’s something I can do to hopefully create a better sense of safety around my neighbourhood, that’s the only goal really,” Adrian said.
“Big fires start as small fires, and luckily we caught ours,” he said.