Tree arson a close call for seniors’ apartment

Saanich police are on the hunt for a group of young teen boys suspected of igniting a tree growing against a wood-framed building

Saanich police are on the hunt for a group of young teen boys suspected of igniting a tree growing against a wood-framed seniors apartment building.

Calls poured in to 911 around 4 p.m. today as witnesses saw a tree on fire and a group of four to five young males, thought to be 13 to 15 years old, run off from Rosebank Manor at the corner of McKenzie Avenue and Cedar Hill Road.

The four-storey building at 3954 Cedar Hill Rd. wasn’t damaged thanks to a quick response from the Saanich fire department. A good Samaritan passing by pulled the fire alarm and about a 100 elderly residents evacuated the building.

Police don’t have a description of the suspects, but are asking parents to come forward if they think their child was involved.

“We’re asking parents if they have a kid that came in tonight that possibly smells like smoke or if they see chatter on Facebook about ‘little Billy’ setting a bush on fire, to contact us,” said Det.-Sgt. John Price with Saanich police.

Price said investigators want to determine the motives of the person or persons who lit the fire – if it was a prank that veered out of control or if it was a premeditated, deliberate arson.

“We are looking to ID the motive. If it’s goofing off or if there’s a history of fire setting,” Price said. “We want to provide the resources to the person and the family (to get help) and educate the (the suspect) to the seriousness of their actions.”

The manicured 14-foot tree with a 10 foot diameter base in plain view of Cedar Hill Road, was burnt to a crisp. Based on witness reports of the teens running away, Price said the dense bushy tree likely ignited into flames much faster than the suspects expected.

“The bush was sited right against the building, full of people’s grandparents,” Price said. “This had the potential to be much more serious.”

Anyone with information on this arson can call Saanich police at 250-475-4321 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Just Posted

Victoria Grizzlies’ goalie will honour friend in all he does

Kurtis Chapman lost his best friend earlier this month

Saanich teen helps save three people from the Gorge

53-year-old male who was submerged is expected to recover

Large fire destroys home on McClure Street in Victoria

Fire crews dispatched to the 1100-block shortly before noon Monday

Spencer Middle School enjoys jumps in sports enrolment numbers

Program gives students a sense of belonging, school pride

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

Comox Valley Valley lotto ticket worth $2 million

Someone who purchased a lottery ticket in the Comox Valley was chanelling… Continue reading

Women’s Expo seeks to empower women this weekend

Victoria Women’s Expo set for Saturday and Sunday at Pearkes Recreation Centre

Pro-Trump protest sign with F-word is OK, court rules

Judges say Ontario man can protest publicly, even using vulgar language

VIDEO: Police officer looking for distracted drivers gets hit by truck

Road safety investigator clipped by trailer while patrolling busy intersection

YVR wants you to help name three new puppies

Say hello to the Vancouver Airport’s new assistance pups

Man dies in crash on Island Highway

Man thrown from his vehicle, alcohol believed to be a factor in accident near Parksville

Suspect who attacked autistic man in Ontario could be from B.C.’s south coast: police

29-year-old man was sent to hospital with serious injuries

Privacy watchdog to explore Facebook leak

Canadian expert says his analytics company helped Trump campaign capitalize on private Facebook info

Most Read