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Suspect sought in previous arson attempt at Surrey, B.C. church that has burned down

Click to play video: 'Surveillance video captures woman starting fire on Surrey church door' Surveillance video captures woman starting fire on Surrey church door
Surrey RCMP want to talk to a woman after she was spotted on surveillance video lighting a fire at the door of the St George Coptic Orthodox Church in Surrey on July 14 – Jul 19, 2021

An Orthodox church has burned to the ground in Surrey after an early morning fire Monday.

The fire broke out around 3 a.m. at the St. George Coptic Orthodox Church in the 13900-block of 108 Street.

Click to play video: 'Suspicious fire destroys Orthodox church in Surrey' Suspicious fire destroys Orthodox church in Surrey
Suspicious fire destroys Orthodox church in Surrey – Jul 19, 2021

Flames were seen shooting out of the roof and walls of the church and could be seen as far away as Burnaby and New Westminster.

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Surrey RCMP confirmed Monday they are investigating the blaze as suspicious.

 

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Surrey firefighters battle a blaze at the St. George Coptic Orthodox Church Monday morning. Shane MacKichan
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Surrey firefighters battle a blaze at the St. George Coptic Orthodox Church in Surrey's Whalley neighbourhood on July 19, 2021. Shane MacKichan
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Surrey firefighters battle a blaze at the St. George Coptic Orthodox Church Monday morning. Shane Mackichan
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Read more: Northern B.C. First Nation’s church destroyed by 2nd fire in one week

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“We’ll wait until we get everything out. It will take a while with roof collapse to make sure we got all the hot spots,” Asst. Fire Chief Shelley Morris with Surrey Fire and Rescues Services said.

“Then we’ll bring investigators on the scene and see if they can determine the origin at that time.”

RCMP said the church was the target of attempted arson on July 14, which was reported after some damage was found at the front door.

Surveillance video confirmed that at approximately 2:33 a.m. on July 14, a woman lit items on fire at the door of the church and immediately left the area, police said.

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The suspect is described as a Caucasian woman, 5’7” tall, with a heavyset build, and dark hair. The woman was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, a black tank top, black tights with a flower print, and black flip flops.

Investigators are asking anyone with information related to either of these investigations to contact Surrey RCMP or Crime Stoppers.

It is not known if these two incidents are linked at this time.

Nearby residents are being asked to keep their doors and windows closed due to the smoke lingering in the area.

More to come.

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