Tree arson a close call for seniors’ apartment

Saanich police are on the hunt for a group of young teen boys suspected of igniting a tree growing against a wood-framed building

Saanich police are on the hunt for a group of young teen boys suspected of igniting a tree growing against a wood-framed seniors apartment building.

Calls poured in to 911 around 4 p.m. today as witnesses saw a tree on fire and a group of four to five young males, thought to be 13 to 15 years old, run off from Rosebank Manor at the corner of McKenzie Avenue and Cedar Hill Road.

The four-storey building at 3954 Cedar Hill Rd. wasn’t damaged thanks to a quick response from the Saanich fire department. A good Samaritan passing by pulled the fire alarm and about a 100 elderly residents evacuated the building.

Police don’t have a description of the suspects, but are asking parents to come forward if they think their child was involved.

“We’re asking parents if they have a kid that came in tonight that possibly smells like smoke or if they see chatter on Facebook about ‘little Billy’ setting a bush on fire, to contact us,” said Det.-Sgt. John Price with Saanich police.

Price said investigators want to determine the motives of the person or persons who lit the fire – if it was a prank that veered out of control or if it was a premeditated, deliberate arson.

“We are looking to ID the motive. If it’s goofing off or if there’s a history of fire setting,” Price said. “We want to provide the resources to the person and the family (to get help) and educate the (the suspect) to the seriousness of their actions.”

The manicured 14-foot tree with a 10 foot diameter base in plain view of Cedar Hill Road, was burnt to a crisp. Based on witness reports of the teens running away, Price said the dense bushy tree likely ignited into flames much faster than the suspects expected.

“The bush was sited right against the building, full of people’s grandparents,” Price said. “This had the potential to be much more serious.”

Anyone with information on this arson can call Saanich police at 250-475-4321 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

editor@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

An eastern cottontail rabbit on the UVic campus. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)
Wild rabbits persist at the University of Victoria

Feral rabbits are still absent, but another non-native species has arrived on campus

This conceptual rendering shows revisions to the proposed warehouse in Sidney on land under the authority of the Victoria Airport Authority. York Realty, which plans to build, then lease the building, said significant changes to the the massing and height of the building respond to community feedback. Additional feedback can be submitted until June 30. (Screencap/York Realty)
Sidney warehouse proposal lands Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce endorsement

Public has until June 30 to submit additional comments after significant modifications

Staff will be reviewing public feedback from second-stage designs for cycling infrastructure in James Bay, part of the City of Victoria’s 32-kilometre network. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria sends James Bay bike lanes choice to next phase

Design modifications based on community input to be delivered to council this summer

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of June 6-12. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
New COVID-19 cases up on Island, but health officials say trends going right way

There were 22 new COVID-19 cases in Greater Victoria last week after just four the week before

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

Most Read