A 38-year-old Vancouver man is in police custody after fire crews battled a blaze at an abandoned home on Drummond Drive on Vancouver’s West Side Sunday evening.
The home on the corner of Drummond Street and West 2nd Avenue has been sitting empty for some time, and was last sold in June 2015 for $17,550,000.
Peter Bridge, assistant fire chief of suppression operations, said firefighters found a plastic lawn chair on fire inside the home. Holes had also been purposely punched in the walls to allow the fire to spread faster throughout the house.
The man, who has now been identified as Johnathan Lewis Durocher, was detained after fire crews spotted him running out of the burning 1.7-acre property when they arrived. Durocher remains in custody pending charge approval. Investigators believe the fire was purposely set.
The home is currently registered to a company called 1784 Drummond Drive Holdings Ltd. It was previously owned by Electronic Arts co-founder Bruce McMillan.
BC Assessment has valued the property’s land at $17,551,000 and building at $135,000.
The home is the second vacant home fire in the immediate area this month. Several weeks ago, fire destroyed a $16-million home a block away on Fannin Avenue.
The Vancouver Fire Department has rung the alarm on dozens of vacant home fires so far this year across the city. Police say they are investigating at least 25 suspicious fires at empty homes in 2016.
The VPD told Global News investigators would be speaking with the suspect about this fire and any others that may be linked.
Anyone who may have information on any of the fires is asked to call police. A tip line has been set up at 604-717-0605, or at Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
WATCH MORE: The Vancouver fire department has rung the alarm on dozens of vacant home fires so far this year across the city and police say they are investigating at least 25 of them as suspicious. Capt. Jonathan Gormick with Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services joined Global News Morning to talk about possible solutions.