Arsonist responsible for 7 Island fires sentenced to 6 years in prison

CHEK

An arsonist who police say was responsible for a string of fires across Vancouver Island in 2023 has been sentenced to six years in prison.

Edwin Singh, 42, was sentenced for seven counts of arson in Nanaimo, Victoria and Saanich — all of which happened within the span of six months.

The first of multiple fires set by Singh started in February 2023, when he set the diaper aisle ablaze inside the Walmart Supercentre in Nanaimo.

On March 20, Singh smashed the window of a car at Pure Gold Automotive in Nanaimo before tossing a flammable object inside, causing the vehicle to catch fire and explode. The shop’s owner at the time said the explosion was so powerful, it shattered one of their store windows.

Months later, on July 12, he started two separate fires in Victoria: one at a business loading area on the 2300-block of Government Street, and another at the Mercedes Benz dealership. Several firefighters responded to the dealership fire, which they say caused explosions.

One other vehicle nearby suffered heat damage.

“The compressed gas cylinders for all the airbags and struts could be heard exploding upon arrival and during the battle as they were exposed to the heat,” wrote the Victoria Firefighters union on social media.

The following month in Victoria, Singh set off two more fires at the same location on the 700-block of Tolmie Avenue at a loading zone. The first incident happened on Aug. 14, with the second happening on Aug. 16.

“Saanich Police can confirm that the offences on Aug. 14 and 16, 2023, did both occur in Saanich at the same address, however, one file was investigated by Saanich Police (Aug. 14) and the other by the Victoria Police (Aug. 16),” said Insp. Damian Kowalewich.

Singh was eventually arrested on Aug. 29.

For all the fires, police say there were no injuries reported.

Some fires still under investigation

During the series of arson, other fires in Victoria, like the one that destroyed Ricky’s Bar and Grill and another that damaged a heritage building on Government Street, are still under active investigation.

VicPD confirmed in June 2023 that Singh was not a suspect in either fire.

Last month, the department released several images of who they believe is responsible for setting the Ricky’s fire. Investigators say a video shows the man throwing a lit object through the windows of the restaurant.

VicPD told CHEK News it does not have any updates on the heritage building fire and that it’s still under investigation.

Oli HerreraOli Herrera

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