Chilliwack firefighters lay out a tarp for their equipment at the Maple Avenue fire Monday morning. (Submitted)

Chilliwack firefighters lay out a tarp for their equipment at the Maple Avenue fire Monday morning. (Submitted)

Pair of vacant house fires deemed suspicious in downtown Chilliwack

A fire broke out on Margaret Avenue Sunday while another hit Maple Avenue on Monday

Two vacant house fires erupted within 24 hours of each other in the downtown core.

Both early-morning incidents are “suspicious” and under investigation by Chilliwack Fire Department and RCMP.

The sun was just coming up on Sunday morning when firefighters from Halls 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 were called to a structure fire in the 46000-block of Margaret Avenue. Upon arrival at 6:45 a.m. firefighters faced heavy, black smoke venting from the rear of the abandoned home.

“Due to fire conditions firefighters set up a defensive fire attack and brought the fire under control,” said Andrew Brown, assistant fire chief for Chilliwack Fire.

The Margaret house suffered major fire and smoke damage.

The second fire call to a vacant house was in the 46000-block of Maple Avenue at 4:45 a.m. on Monday morning. In this incident, a fully involved structure fire started in a detached garage and spread to the single-storey home.

“The garage was completely consumed in the fire and the home suffered major fire and smoke damage to the interior and exterior of the structure.”

A number of vacant house fires have been reported in recent years, and property owners are often advised by city officials to fence them off and demolish them as soon as possible.

READ MORE: Arson strikes vacant house

The owners of vacant and boarded-up houses actually face “an increased risk” when it comes to sustaining property damage from vandalism, theft and or fire, the fire official underlined.

“A fire within a vacant home also increases the risk to firefighter safety,” he added.

There were no civilian or firefighter injuries at either incident.

Anyone with any information about these fires is asked to call the RCMP at 604-792-4611 or anonymously through Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or www.upperfraservalleycrimestoppers.ca

READ MORE: Vacant house hit by fire


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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