“This was a shocking attack that targeted a vulnerable member of our community,” Const. Tania Visintin said in a release. “We need witnesses and anyone with information to call police and help solve this crime.”
Police said the woman, who is in her 50s, was sitting on the west side of Dunlevy Avenue near Powell Street around 1:30 a.m.
A stranger came up to her, police said, poured a flammable substance on her head and then lit it on fire.
The woman was able to run to a nearby business for help and that’s when she was transported to the hospital, police confirmed.
The suspect is described as being in his 30s and fled the area before police were called to the scene.
The woman, who Visintin said is “experiencing homelessness” remains in the hospital in serious condition.
Vancouver police said officers are also looking into a second incident that took place later on Monday.
A man called police alleging his homemade structure was set on fire while he was asleep in the south lane of Columbia Street near West 5th Avenue between 12:30 and 1:30 a.m. He put out the fire himself and managed to escape without any injuries, police confirmed.
“Investigators don’t believe the two incidents are connected,” adds Visintin. “However, it is still very early in the investigation, so we are not ruling anything out.”
Both arsons remain under investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to call VPD’s Major Crime at 604-717-2541 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.