WATCH: 57-year-old Saanich man will appear in B.C. provincial court Friday morning
Less than three weeks after an arsonist torched a townhouse complex in Saanich, police say they’ve arrested a 57-year-old man for the crime.
And he is also facing charges in connection with a fire inside the Shelbourne Street Home Depot in April.
Construction equipment clears away the debris where five townhouses stood, destroyed by fire.
The smell of smoke still lingers.
Exploding propane tanks inside the building fueling the May 22nd fire.
This is the scene in the 4000 block of Cedar Hill Road near University Heights Shopping Centre at 8:30 at night.
Nearby residents fleeing their homes with only the clothes on their backs.
Now Saanich police Acting Sargeant Jereme Leslie says this fire is linked to one inside the April 22nd Home Depot fire, just a few hundred metres away.
“We’re very pleased to announce that we’ve made an arrest of a suspect in two separate fires.”
On Wednesday, police arrested a 57-year-old Saanich resident, who is known to police.
“What we’re recommending is two counts of Arson to Endanger Life.”
Across the street from the townhouses, Antoinette Ritrovato says she just heard the news of the arrest.
“My niece just called me now and said, hey they caught the guy. I knew, that’s wonderful, yeah.”
The heat from the fire melted siding on Ritrovato’s house across the street, damaging her car and burning her bushes.
She’s relieved to hear a suspect is in custody.
“Very good news, and I hope he gets the help that he needs. Hope that he learns something from this. I don’t know what. People should realize this is not the way to go.”
A neighbour pounded on Ling Huang’s townhouse door, just metres from the fire.
“I opened the door and I heard my neighbour’s cries, ‘fire, fire!. I said, ‘I’m going to call 9-1-1’.”
Leslie says “There’s a huge element of danger and very, very risky for the general public. Obviously, we’ve worked very, very hard to solve these crimes.”
If convicted, Arson to Endanger Life carries a potential life sentence.
The suspect will appear in B.C. Provincial court Friday morning.