Vancouver police have arrested a suspect in an incident at Vancouver’s Langara College on Monday involving a fire, which led to the evacuation of the campus.
According to police, a man in his 20s entered the campus just before noon with multiple “incendiary devices,” allegedly using them to light “one or more fires” at the school before fleeing.
Paramedics and firefighters were called to the scene, along with the Vancouver police Emergency Response Team to help evacuate the campus.
“The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) Emergency Response Team did enter the school, have gone through inch by inch of the school and they actually remain here right now just to make sure there’s nothing left over,” said VPD Const. Jason Doucette Monday evening.
“We have recovered a number of devices. Some were lit on fire, some did go off, some didn’t and we’ve made those safe at this point.”
According to investigators, the suspect was quickly identified by someone on campus, and Metro Vancouver Transit Police arrested him in Surrey.
Police are not saying whether the suspect was identified by a staff member or student, nor are they identifying the suspect or saying whether he is a student or former student.
They also said the school received no warning ahead of the incident.
The VPD said it plans to continue to search the campus into the night, and are reviewing video evidence.
Langara College initially cleared students from the T-Building and library, which share a ventilation system, around noon due to a fire.
Students were initially let back into the library, but after police issued a call for people to report anything suspicious, all classes and exams were cancelled and students and staff were told to evacuate the campus around 1:15 p.m.
“There was just a lot of confusion I would say,” student Kristian Trevana told Global News.
“I saw quite a few firefighters. The police were quite spread out throughout the campus telling people to leave.”
Photos from the scene showed multiple fire trucks outside the college, and heavily armed police in tactical gear on campus.
“My school cancelled all classes and evacuated campus today because of ‘a fire,'” tweeted one student.
“But u need an assault rifle for a fire?”
TransLink said it had detoured buses along 49th Avenue, which was closed by police.
Langara’s campus on 49th Avenue, along with its campus at 601 West Broadway remained closed Monday evening.
The College says the 49th Avenue campus will remain closed on Tuesday, but the Broadway campus will reopen as usual.
Students and staff are being asked to check the Langara College website for updates.