Firefighters extinguished a fire in a barbecue of a second-storey apartment patio on Ware Street in Abbotsford on March 24, 2019.

Firefighters extinguished a fire in a barbecue of a second-storey apartment patio on Ware Street in Abbotsford on March 24, 2019.

Man sentenced for setting apartment barbecue on fire in Abbotsford

Michael Rodden climbed to second-storey balcony in March 2019

A man who climbed onto a second-storey apartment balcony in Abbotsford a year ago and set a barbecue on fire has been sentenced to three days in jail and three years of probation.

Michael Rodden, 32, pleaded guilty to a charge of arson, while a mischief charge was stayed during sentencing on March 20 in Abbotsford provincial court.

The incident took place on March 24, 2019 in the 2600 block of Ware Street while a family – including a two-year-old boy – was sleeping in their apartment.

The family heard a “huge smash” on their patio and thought someone was breaking into their home.

When they rushed toward their patio, they saw that their living room window was smashed and that Rodden was “babbling and yelling.”

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The family then noticed that their barbecue was on fire, with flames so high they were touching the ceiling. The blaze caused the glass panels on the patio to explode.

MICHAEL RODDEN

They grabbed a jug from their water cooler and dumped it on the flames.

Meanwhile, Rodden had jumped onto their neighbours’ patio, and a passing off-duty police officer called in the fire.

Members of Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service and the Abbotsford Police Department arrived on scene, and Rodden was arrested.

According to the provincial court database, Rodden has numerous past convictions for offences such as possession of stolen property, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, uttering threats, stealing vehicles, break-and-enter, robbery, unlawful confinement, possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking, possession of child pornography, mischief, and breaching his bail and probation conditions.

The convictions date back to 2006 and most of them occurred in Abbotsford.

Rodden was the subject of a police notice in July 2017, when he was wanted by the Mission RCMP on three warrants. He was arrested the following month.

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Vikki Hopes | Reporter

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