The Abbotsford Police Department (APD) has confirmed that a fire occurring early Monday morning at Maan Farms is arson.
Const. Paul Walker said that conclusion was reached after a thorough investigation involving the APD and Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service (AFRS).
Walker said he couldn’t provide further specifics, including how the blaze was started or where in, or outside, the building it began.
He said the APD’s major crime unit is continuing the investigation and is appealing for anyone to come forward who might have seen any suspicious activity near the property on or around Monday, July 14.
Crews were called to the property, located at the corner of Vye and McKenzie roads, just before 1 a.m. that day.
The blaze, which took several hours to get under control, destroyed the top floor of the main building, which housed the farm’s office, winery, “country kitchen” and store, where items such as fresh produce, home-style jams and ice cream were sold.
The bottom floor suffered smoke and water damage.
The site was closed on Monday and Tuesday, but re-opened Wednesday for its U-pick services and berry sales.
It will remain closed, until further notice, for wedding receptions, conferences, tours, birthday parties, wine tastings and more.
“We are heart-broken and still in shock, but we will rebuild and move forward,” states a message on the Maan Farms website.
Meanwhile, the APD and AFRS are investigating three other suspicious fires that have taken place over a one-week period at a commercial building in the 33800 block of South Fraser Way.
Walker said the fires were minor and caused minimal damage. They were started both in and outside the building, he said.
At this time, there is no indication they are connected in any way to the Maan Farms fire, he said.
The fires are also not connected to a series of arsons that occurred in central Abbotsford in mid-April. The suspect in that case, Colby Drew Jandrew, 20, was arrested in May and has been in custody ever since, charged with four counts of arson and one count of public mischief.
Anyone with information about any of the fires is asked to call the APD at 604-859-5225, text 222973 (abbypd) or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.