‘Malicious’ vandalism causes massive flood at Vancouver apartment building

Workers bring equipment into an apartment building at 388 Kaslo Street in response to a massive flood from a standpipe early Thursday morning. Global News

Dozens of people have been forced from their homes after a vandal caused a flood inside a brand new Vancouver apartment building Thursday.

The flood not only damaged more than a dozen suites in the building at 388 Kaslo Street, which just opened in January, but also forced the Tim Hortons on the ground floor to shut down.

According to Vancouver Asst. Fire Chief Dave Rosenlund, the vandal — who the property manager and police confirmed is a resident of the building — allegedly went into the third-floor stairwell overnight and opened the standpipe, which supplies water for firefighting hoses.

By the time the flowing standpipe was discovered and turned off around 1:30 a.m. Thursday, the damage was already done: at least 15 apartments, along with the lobby, one elevator, the parking garage and stairwell, all sustained water damage.

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“This was definitely a malicious act,” Rosenlund said. “The water was running for quite a while.”

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Vancouver police confirmed they are investigating the flood. A woman was arrested at the scene, but police say it was for an unrelated matter.

The property management company, Warrington PCI Management, said the resident responsible for the flood is no longer allowed in the building, despite apologizing to the manager personally.

Security has also been heightened at the building, with guards monitoring the property 24-7 until further notice.

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In a letter to tenants, the property manager said staff are working to restore the suites and “expedite” repairs.

“We understand the tremendous grief that this has caused and deeply sympathize with any losses that occurred as a result of this act,” Rebekah David wrote in the letter, which was sent to Global News by a tenant.

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David also urged anyone who was displaced or suffered damage in their suites to contact her, as well as their insurers to open claims for hotel accommodation during repairs.

At least one family from one unit has been set up with hotel accommodation so far, the property management company said, and tenants have been given Starbucks and dinner gift cards.

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The company said all other tenants chose to stay with family and friends.

An artists rendering of 388 Kaslo. Courtesy PCI Developments

“This is such an unfortunate situation for everyone and our immediate concern is the safety and well being of our tenants, and ensuring the few residents who are displaced have a place to stay in the short term,” said Lorna Park, senior vice president of Warrington PCI Management.

The tenant who shared the letter, who did not want to be named and does not live in one of the flooded suites, told Global News that water was leaking off people’s patios onto the streets below before the standpipe was shut off.

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He also said crews have been working around the clock since Thursday night to remediate the damage, which the property management company confirmed.

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Rosenlund said the water also leaked onto the food tables and display cases inside the Tim Horton’s, forcing the store to close.

A spokesperson for Tim Horton’s said the store owner is now working on repairing the damage caused by the flooding, and is working with health officials to ensure the store is brought back up to code before reopening.

Vancouver Coastal Health said they have attended the store and are in contact with the owner, and will make health inspectors available for an assessment once the owner makes the necessary repairs.

The 388 Kaslo apartment building, which was built under the City of Vancouver’s Rental 100 incentive program, houses 94 rental units.

The tenant who spoke with Global News said several of the units that were flooded were set to be occupied starting April 1.

It’s not yet known how many residents were affected, and a timeline on when repairs would be completed is unknown.

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