Fire in Chilliwack Sunday was suspicious

There were two fires in the early hours of August 18 on the north side of Chilliwack, including a landfill fire on reserve land

Smoke drifting from a landfill fire on the Shxwha:y reserve Sunday might have impacted air quality for residents, said Chilliwack Fire Department officials.

It was one of two fire calls crews were summoned to in the pre-dawn hours.

The first was just after 3 a.m., a fire was reported on a section of the Shxwha:y Village (formerly Skway First Nation) on the outskirts of Chilliwack, where a private landfill is operated by a contractor.

There were no fire hydrants so hand lines had to be deployed by firefighters, and water tenders supplied water to the burnpile.

Officials said a huge pile of waste was burning. Estimated to be “three storey high” the stack contained “mixed materials.”

Anyone with respiratory conditions was told to stay inside and keep windows closed.

About 20 Chilliwack fire personnel rotated throughout the day to put out the fire completely, and the contractor provided an excavator to assist with digging through the debris.

The cause is not yet known of the landfill fire, but officials said it was not suspicious.

But the second fire call was deemed suspicious.

Chilliwack Fire Department and RCMP officials are investigating a structure fire as a possible arson, in the 46000 block of Fourth Avenue. It was called in at about 3:30 that same Sunday morning.

Fire crews arrived to find a detached garage was fully engulfed in flames and it had ignited a nearby boarded-up house.

“Firefighters knocked down both fires from the outside and eventually entered the house to contain a fire in the attic of the single-storey home,” said assistant fire chief Jeff Ullyot.

The garage was totally destroyed with significant damage to the interior of the residence.

“Anyone with information on this fire is asked to contact the Fire Department or the RCMP.”