Investigators are looking into the possibility that Abbotsford has a serial arsonist on its hands, after two more fires occurred early this morning, including at a home containing a family of four.
This brings to five the total number of fires that have taken place in close proximity in less than 48 hours. Three early-morning fires also occurred on Wednesday.
One of this morning’s fires took place in the 32200 block of Hillcrest Avenue, the same road on which a blaze destroyed a vacant home and garage on Wednesday.
The latest fire was also at an abandoned home and was reported by witnesses at about 12:30 a.m. The house suffered extensive damage to the basement.
While members of Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service (AFRS) and the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) were still at that location, another witness reported a fire in the carport of at a home in the 2400 block of Adelaide Street at 2:15 a.m.
A family of four and their neighbours had to be evacuated while that blaze was contained. Damage was mainly to the garage.
This was similar to the scene on Wednesday morning, when a fire was set at the outside rear of the Red Apple Food Store on Marshall Road while seven people were inside the residential units of the building. All escaped without injury.
In addition to that fire and the one on Hillcrest Avenue on Wednesday, a small fire was set in a covered area of a bank in the 2500 block of Clearbrook Road.
MacDonald said investigators believe the five fires are linked because they all started after midnight and took place in a relatively small geographical area of central Abbotsford.
He said the investigation into these incidents is currently the top priority for both the AFRS and APD.
“We are extremely concerned. The Marshall Road and Adelaide locations contained families, and clearly lives were at risk.”
MacDonald said police are encouraging anyone with information to come forward and for all citizens to report suspicious activity, particularly in the area and timeframes outlined.
Anyone with information is asked to call the APD at 604-859-5225, text abbypd (222973) or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.