A 54 year-old man has been arrested in connection with three suspicious fires that occurred Sunday night, Feb. 14, and early Monday morning in the Cedar and Ladysmith areas.
Police responded shortly after 10 p.m. to what they thought was a break-in at Cedar Valley Memorial Gardens, at 2347 Cedar Road, but upon arrival found the building engulfed in flames, with North Cedar Volunteer Fire Department battling the blaze.
Percy Tipping, North Cedar fire chief, said the fire was being fueled by natural gas.
“We had to wait for Fortis B.C. to isolate the gas service. It was just too intense for us to get to it,” Tipping said. “Basically we just controlled the fire from a distance. Once the gas was isolated then we were able to extinguish the fire.”
Damage to the roof of the building was extensive, Tipping said
Ron Gueulette, Cranberry Volunteer Fire Department chief, who was on scene, said it appeared a natural gas line to the building had been vandalized and ignited.
No one was injured in the blaze.
While that incident was under investigation, another fire was reported at 11:20 p.m. at the Ivy Green Husky gas station on Highway 1 just north of Ladysmith. Then at 12:20 a.m. a small fire was reported in a grader on a property off Brenton Page Road.
There was ‘minimal damage’ caused by the Ivy Green fire, but damage to the grader was estimated at $28,000.
The suspect was arrested in Cedar. “Investigation identified a suspect vehicle, which was located a short time later in Cedar,” said Nanaimo Cst. Gary O’Brien in an RCMP release.
The lone male occupant was arrested without incident and a judicial bail hearing was scheduled for Monday.
Charges of arson were being contemplated, but Ladysmith Commander Sgt. Ken Brissard said the incidents were still under investigation.