RCMP make arrest in connection with fire-coupling thefts

A string of fire-coupling thefts left several Chilliwack buildings at risk. RCMP recovered the couplings, which were broken and unusable.

One man has been arrested in connection with a series of brass fire-coupling thefts from downtown area buildings.

Chilliwack Fire Department Cpt. Don Van Beest says at least 25 buildings, and maybe more, had couplings taken. The absence of working connections created a serious risk for people living and working in those buildings.

“The purpose of these couplings is to allow us to augment the water supply to sprinkler or standpipe systems,” Van Beest explains. “A sprinkler system is supplied at 65 PSI (pounds per square inch). With these connections, we’re able to access the fire hydrants and get that as high as 175 PSI, which puts considerably more water on a fire.”

RCMP executed a search warrant on an address in the 46000 block of Princess Avenue late last week, recovering 28 couplings. Unfortunately, the connections had been broken, rendering them unusable.

“For a few bucks of scrap metal, the person who did this created the potential for a large amount of damage,” Van Beest noted.

The person arrested has not yet appeared in court.

In the meantime, Van Beest has been making the rounds to make sure the couplings are being replaced.

“That’s meant playing the role of not-so-nice fireman, telling building owners/managers that they must get a repairman in, pay the bill and get them fixed,” he said. “The cost is around $150-200 per coupling, and some have two. The museum got hit twice, as did a condo strata. And when I contacted one person, he said, ‘I can’t go on replacing these connections.’ And I said, ‘You can and you will.’”

Less vigilant property managers may not have been aware of the thefts until Van Beest gave them a call.

They’ve now been informed.

“Most buildings are inspected at least once a year, and we inspect a couple hundred every month,” Van Beest noted. “So something like this doesn’t escape notice for long.”

RCMP Cpl. Len vanNieuwenhuizen said the scope of the problem remained undetected for longer than it should have because people reported the thefts to the fire department, and not the RCMP.

“We encourage people to report matters of theft to us,” he said. “We like to get those reports firsthand, because we might have questions to ask that the fire department wouldn’t realize.”

Anyone who witnesses or has knowledge of a theft is asked to call the local RCMP detachment at 604-792-4611 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

People stroll through rows of tulips in bloom during the Tulips of the Valley Festival on May 2, 2017. The colourful spring event, now called Chilliwack Tulips, opens on Sunday, April 11, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Chilliwack tulip attraction open this weekend after being closed last year due to COVID-19

More than 6.5 million bulbs in all at this year’s colourful Chilliwack Tulips event

Oregon spotted frog egg masses near Agassiz. (Fraser Valley Conservancy)
Jumping for joy over Oregon spotted frog discovery near Agassiz

Finding six egg masses could be step toward recovery of Canada’s most endangered amphibian

Sunset Manor, an assisted living facility in Chilliwack owned by the Netherlands Reformed Congregation of Chilliwack, pictured here in October 2020, had its third COVID-19 outbreak declared on April 9, 2021. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Third outbreak declared at Chilliwack care home run by church known for opposing vaccinations

30-bed Sunset Manor owned and operated by Netherlands Reformed Congregation of Chilliwack

Peter Scherle shared this 1958 photo of his father, then-Town Chairperson Paul Scherle (centre) speaking with Queen Elizabeth II with Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in the background. Prince Philip passed away April 9 at the age of 99. (Photo/Peter Scherle)
PHOTOS: Hope residents remember Prince Philip, royal visits to Fraser Valley

Prince Phillip died at age 99 at Windsor Castle on April 9

Sold decals on real estate signs are commonplace in the red-hot Chilliwack real estate market (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy)
Chilliwack homes getting offers the first day the for-sale sign goes up

The March report from the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board shows the market remains red-hot

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, was filming near Prospect Lake in Saanich last month. (Photo courtesy Fred Haynes)
Province announces $150,000 towards film studio, fulfilling B.C. NDP promise

Investment to fund movie studio feasibility study at Camosun College

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

British Columbia Attorney General David Eby. (Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Attorney General covers housing, homelessness and justice reform in Surrey Zoom

‘I think it would be really great to hold some sessions in Surrey,’ Eby says of legislative assembly

Most Read