A deliberately set fire destroyed a vacant house on Robson Street Saturday afternoon.
Chilliwack Fire Department crews from five halls responded to the structure fire in the 9400-block of Robson at approximately 4:30 p.m.
On arrival, firefighters found “extensive fire” at the rear of the structure, and they worked to extinguish the blaze.
Large crowds gathered in the downtown neighbourhood to watch. The house is located between Wellington and Victoria avenues. One neighbour said squatters have been living in the vacant house for a while.
The house sustained major damage and, due to the instability of the structure, an excavator was later brought in to demolish the house.
There were no civilian or firefighter injuries.
The fire is under investigation by Chilliwack Fire Department and RCMP fire investigators, but it is determined to have been deliberately set.
Fires in vacant structures have been a serious problem in Chilliwack in recent months. Earlier in July an overnight fire destroyed a garage at a vacant house that also saw a fire in June.
“Chilliwack Fire Department would like to remind owners of vacant homes, that they face an increase risk when it comes to property damage which includes vandalism, theft and or fire damage,” according to assistant fire chief Mike Bourdon in a press release. “A fire within a vacant home also increases the risk to firefighter safety.”
Anyone with information about this fire is asked to call the RCMP at 604-792-4611 or anonymously through Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or www.upperfraservalleycrimestoppers.ca.