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Couple packing to move after string of suspicious fires at Richmond apartment buiding

Click to play video: 'Residents living in fear after Richmond condo arson spree'
Residents living in fear after Richmond condo arson spree
Residents living in fear after Richmond condo arson spree – Jan 3, 2021

Greg Warkentin has lived in his Richmond apartment since 2016, but after a string of suspicious fires, he’s packing up to move.

There have been multiple fires at the building on Arcadia Road this year, along with a number of false alarms. One was immediately beneath his unit, and another was in the adjacent stairwell.

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“It’s very bad. I’ve been on medication for a while for anxiety and I’ve been trying to wean myself off, but now I can’t sleep without it,” he told Global News.

“It’s no way to live. It’s just scary. I wake up hearing alarms when there isn’t any.”

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Warkentin said the fire alarms started in the summer — some due to a faulty alarm, and some intentional.

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Then on Nov. 10, there was an electrical fire, not believed to be suspicious, in one of the other units.

“I always call 911, because the building isn’t monitored, and I said ‘oh, it’s probably another false alarm, get here when you can,’ and it turns out it was a real fire,” he said.

Richmond firefighters attend another fire at Greg Warkentin\’s building. Greg Warkentin

On Nov. 18, a piece of equipment meant to scrub smoke damage from the apartment fire was set alight.

The next day, a boat in the building’s parkade was set on fire.

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“That was three fires in the span of nine days,” he said.

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Finally, someone poured a flammable material in the building’s stairwell on Dec. 30 and lit it on fire.

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Richmond RCMP suspects at least three of the fires to be suspicious, and has issued a public appeal for information.

“The motive of the crimes remains unclear. It is also unclear if these fires are all related,” Const. Kenneth Lau said in a media release.

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“The multiple fires have been unsettling for residents of the building, as you can imagine.”

In the meantime, Warkentin and his fiance said they’ve had enough of sleeping with the door open to ensure they can hear the fire alarm if it goes off.

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“We are starting to pack, we are hoping to get out of here soon,” he said.

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