Two Duncan fires ‘suspicious’

Fires that investigators are calling suspicious broke out in abandoned homes in Duncan on back-to-back nights last weekend.

The first fire was reported just before 10 p.m. Saturday in a home on Festubert Street.

The second started around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday in a house on Second Street.

Both structures have been empty since they were damaged in fires in February.

The Second Street home caught fire on Feb. 12, and the house on Festubert was struck on Feb. 20.

Neither of the February blazes were considered suspicious, but the situations are different this time.

"The fires have occurred just one night apart in the early evening hours which raises suspicions on its own," North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Krista Hobday said.

"Add that both residences have been abandoned for some time and the Hydro has been turned off leaves little doubt that the fires were intentional. Duncan’s fire investigator is looking into the cause of the fires and gathering evidence to support any hypotheses they may develop as to their origin."

Neighbours of the house on Festubert Street said they knew that "punks and transients" had been going in and out of the building, but hadn’t caught them in the act. The garage had been boarded up and a "no trespassing" sign erected, but that didn’t prevent people from accessing the main building. One neighbour spotted the flames and smoke when she was outside watering her plants.

The presence of asbestos in the structure is believed to be preventing its demolition. Since Saturday’s fire, it has been boarded up by the fire department, and the building’s manager has been asked to put a temporary fence around it.

The home on Second Street, meanwhile, was demolished as part of the efforts to extinguish Sunday’s fire.

"We tore it down," Duncan Fire Chief Mike McKinlay said. "We couldn’t get in there. It was beyond being safe. We brought in an excavator to take it down and put it out that way."

The police are asking people who live near abandoned buildings to keep their eyes open and report any suspicious activity.

"During the warm summer months these type of fires can get out of hand very quickly and possibly spread to an occupied home," Hobday said. Anyone with information about these or any other crimes should contact the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at 250-748-5522 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Just Posted

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

Blue Moon Marquee from Duncan will be featured at the 2021 TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival on June 28. (Submitted)
Blue Moon Marquee to play Vancouver Jazz Festival

What’s coming up in the A&E scene

Sonia Furstenau, MLA
Proposed Health Professions Act would eliminate barriers, guide regulations

Is your doctor a member of good standing with the BC College… Continue reading

Grade 12 students Sophia Kazakoff and Catherine Yuan accept QMS’s Stigma Free Designation award from Stigma-Free Society president, Andrea Paquette. (Submitted)
Duncan’s QMS earns ‘Stigma-Free’ designation

“No school in the province has accomplished what QMS did in such a short period of time”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Most Read