Sunday , April 18 2021

Man arrested after fires at athletics center, Camosun College building in Saanich, B.C.

An important facility in Saanich B.C. many of Canada's top athletes are closed after a fire was intentionally placed in the building early on Sunday morning.

Police said they arrested a 30-year-old man from Victoria after fires at the Pacific Institute of Sports Excellence (PISE) and another building on the adjacent campus called Camosun Interurban College Business and Access Center (CBA).

PISE offers facilities and programming for top-level athletes, but also for community members, including children and youth.

"It is home to many world-class athletes from our country who come here to train and work," said Dan Wood, deputy chief of operations for the Saanich Fire Department.

Firefighters responded to the first fire at PISE shortly after 2 am Sunday. While they were extinguishing, the crews were alerted to another alarm from the other building. Firefighters found a small fire inside the house and police arrested a suspect at the scene.

Const. Matt Cawsey wrote in a statement that several charges, including breaking and entering, fire, mischief and robbery are being recommended and that the suspect remains in custody.

Wood said it looked like someone had placed boxes and posters in the lobby of the CBA building on fire.

The second fire was relatively small.

As for PISE, the damage was much more extensive. A reception area was burned down where there were computers, desks and chairs. There is smoke and water damage in the PISE building and it is not clear when it will be reopened.

"Very good"

The deliberately scheduled fires follow six more on Halloween night in an area that covers Saanich and Victoria.

Wood says that arson is an unnecessary crime.

"You know it's reckless and it puts at risk not only our citizens and their properties but also puts our firefighters at risk who respond to them," he said. "There's no reason for such behavior, it's certainly dangerous."

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