A Saanich police officer stands outside the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE) located on the Interurban Campus of Camosun College, which along with one other building suffered fire damage Sunday morning. (Wolf Depner/News staff)

UPDATE: Man arrested by Saanich Police following Camosun College fires remains in custody

Police call fire damage to PISE building ‘significant’ with additional buildings damaged

Saanich Police are recommending several charges of break and enter, arson, mischief and theft against a 30-year-old Victoria man, who remains in custody following several Sunday morning fires.

Saanich Police arrested the man Sunday morning, but are withholding details because of the on-going nature of the investigation, said Cst. Matt Cawsey in a release Sunday afternoon.

Dan Wood, deputy fire chief with the Saanich Fire Department, said Sunday morning it is “highly likely” that the man is connected to two, possibly more fires on or near the Interurban campus of Camosun College. Perhaps the most significant of the fires caused what Cawsey calls “significant” damage to the weight room of the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE) located next to the college.

Casey — like Wood though in his initial assessment — could not attach a dollar figure.

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According to Wood, Saanich Police including a K-9 unit, arrested the man after fire crews responding to the blaze at PISE around 2:20 a.m. responded to a second fire on campus in the college’s Centre for Business and Access (CBA).

Crews attending the second fire discovered a person inside the building, Wood said. They then cleared the area and waited for police to arrive, who then arrested the person.

Inside the CBA building, the blaze damaged notice boards and Wood suggested but could not confirm, that the number of affected buildings might increase.

Robert Bettauer, chief executive officer of PISE, told the Saanich News that police were familiar with the individual. “What I heard is that he was known to them, and obviously disturbed, not much doubt about that,” he said.

Bettauer made this comment, as he was standing outside the building late Sunday morning where several metres away, Saanich police officers were guarding several open doors blocked off by yellow police tape leading into PISE’s fitness room.

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“So we have some fire damage, and we have water damage and smoke damage,” Bettauer said. “We don’t know the extent of it, because they are still in the process of completing their investigation.”

He expects that the building will remain closed at least Sunday. At least two other buildings on campus suffered some type of fire damage, he added.

Cawsey’s comments point in the same direction. The initial investigation by Saanich Police located additional college buildings that somebody had entered and damaged.

Cawsey said police hoped that they would be able to release additional details on Tuesday.

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com


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