Arsonist blazes a trail between Victoria and Saanich

Police arrested a 22-year-old Saanich man last night for a string of six arsons over two hours.

Police arrested a 22-year-old Saanich man last night for a string of six arsons over two hours.

The firebug spree began around 1 a.m. after two garbage dumpsters were set ablaze near Market Square. A witness called 911 and was able to provide a detailed description, which police say was instrumental in making the eventual arrest.

The suspected arsonist moved out of the core, lighting two more fires around 2:30 a.m. A trailer connected to a pickup truck was set on fire near Cook and Empress streets. Then behind Oakland School (Belmont Avenue and Ryan Street), a bus operated by the Children’s Society was set on fire.

Not long after at nearby Zellers at Hillside mall, a garbage bale near a loading dock was set on fire, but was extinguished by police. Crossing North Dairy into Saanich, the suspect pushed a lit garbage can next to the Shelbourne Medical Clinic building, damaging an exterior wall and triggering the fire alarm.

Saanich police caught up to the alleged arsonist at Shelbourne Street and Christmas Avenue and made an arrest based on the description given from the original fire. Police were also able to recover “key evidence,” although what that is hasn’t been released.

Const. Mike Russell, with the Victoria police, said the young alleged arsonist isn’t known to police and moved on foot from location to location. Victoria and Saanich police are still contacting business owners to assess the physical damage and financial toll.

Charges against the Saanich man are expected to be sworn today.

editor@saanichnews.com