A blaze that caused extensive damage to an Abbotsford fitness centre early this morning is being investigated as a possible arson.
The fire occurred at about 1:15 a.m. at World Gym, 33122 South Fraser Way. Deputy Fire Chief Dale Unrau said crews arrived to find that the interior front entrance and a portion of the roof were in flames.
Nobody was in the building, and about 30 firefighters worked to bring the fire under control and from spreading through the rest of the structure.
Unrau said the biggest challenge was in tackling the “hot spots” on the roof, which had three levels of materials that had built up from renovations and maintenance over the years.
He estimated structural fire damage at $90,000.
He said he could not comment on the cause of the fire, as it is still under investigation by Abbotsford Police and Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service. However, a police officer on the scene was observed picking up a plastic gas can on the front lawn of an apartment complex at the corner of Mill Lake Road and Lakeview Crescent – just behind World Gym.
The same officer was also seen retrieving a plastic cap at the front door of the business.
Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said World Gym is not known to police for any unusual criminal activity.
He said police over the last five years have attended the scene for typical business-related incidents, such as break-and-enters and false alarms.
Investigators will now look through any video footage obtained from surrounding businesses to uncover any suspicious activity.
Anyone with information is asked to call Abbotsford Police at 604-859-5225 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).