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

Federal government actions hurt Sooke hatchery fundraising efforts

Funding denial comes on the heels of fishing closures

SD62 student places third in province-wide French competition

12-year-old Sasha Zandieh won third with a speech on poet Pablo Neruda

Island athlete goes from hoop dreams to icy track

Cyrus Gray hopes to punch his ticket to Olympics in bobsleigh

Jesse Roper learns to create fire in the wild, in Sacred Knowledge web series

Ragnarock Studios production shares primitive skills with Islanders

Oak Bay researcher’s Canadian English dictionary goes to print

How an unknown American hobbyist sparked a Canadian dictionary

Police release photos of suspect in daytime sex assault at Vancouver woman’s home

A young woman, in hers 20s, was followed home by the man, before he violently attacked her inside

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Most Read