Vancouver Fire is investigating another suspicious fire after a vacant home at 41st Avenue and Cambie Street caught fire Thursday night.
The boarded up home was behind fences and ready to be redeveloped when flames took over at around 7 p.m.
This adds to Vancouver Police’s count of 25 suspicious fires at empty homes so far this year. Eight of those have occurred since Oct. 23.
It’s four times the number of vacant house fires in all of 2015.
Assistant Chief John Dennis with Vancouver Fire said Thursday night’s fire was “not unlike what’s been happening almost every night around here.”
“We have these abandoned homes, obviously somebody has got in there and they’re using it as their shelter. When they start to get cold, they light a fire. This is what happens. We’re running into this quite a bit.”
About 40 firefighters were on scene to battle the blaze. Dennis said whoever was squatting in the house had a fire going in the fireplace and one lit in the middle of the living room floor. They had left by the time fire crews arrived.
He said the issue is prolific among abandoned homes along the Granville, Oak, Cambie, and Main Street corridors.
In the latest incident involving a fire at a vacant building in Vancouver, a historic and “endangered” church on West 41 Avenue and East Boulevard went up in flames on Tuesday. The Kerrisdale Baptist Church was slated for demolition and neighbours say it had been empty for a while.
In another incident just a week before, a fire broke out in a massive $16-million home on Vancouver’s West Side. It appears the house had been vacant for some time.
Vancouver police are working to determine whether any of these fires are related. For now, they’re asking the public to be vigilant in areas of vacant homes and report any suspicious activity to 9-1-1 immediately.