Saanich Police seek video footage after vehicle arson on Bethune Avenue

Saanich Police seek video footage after vehicle arson on Bethune Avenue
Photo courtesy: Fae Huxtable
Fae Huxtable captured this photo of an early-morning car fire in the 3400-block of Bethune Avenue. Sunday, April 2, 2023.

Saanich police are seeking video footage from the public following a Sunday morning vehicle arson that left neighbours scared and shocked.

Police say the incident happened around 1:30 a.m. in the 3400-block of Bethune Avenue, and two people in their late teens or early 20s were seen running from the scene.

Footage sent to CHEK News shows fire crews battling the flames as they engulfed a white sedan in the parking lot of the Bethune Ridge townhouse complex.

“It was really scary. Super surreal. It’s a family housing complex, so I was concerned about the car potentially exploding,” said Rebecca Bradley, who witnessed the fire.

“I was up at about 1:30 a.m. with my 5-year-old son and heard a commotion. I started smelling a whole bunch of smoke, and basically took a look out my window and saw my neighbour’s car on fire. The flames were super high, it was really scary. Luckily, the fire department was already here,” she told CHEK News.

Bradley says the smoke quickly began spewing into her unit.

“It was a lot of smoke. So that was an issue, just clearing the smoke out of my suite,” she added. “I was concerned about the smoke and a lot of commotion.”

Fae Huxtable also lives in the complex and says the blaze was as tall as the surrounding two-storey houses.

“I heard a huge boom, and then I heard broken glass almost immediately after,” said Huxtable, noting she saw the suspects running away and quickly called 911.

“It definitely gave me a shock, and I felt in shock after when speaking with the police. It made for an interesting morning, for sure. I wasn’t sure if the other cars were going to ignite on fire.”

Members from Saanich Police’s Major Crime and Forensic Identification Unit are working to identify those responsible, according to Sgt. Damian Kowalewich.

Investigators are seeking video, including dashcam video, captured between 12:40 a.m. and 2 a.m. on Saanich Road between Douglas Street, Calumet Avenue and the 3400-block of Bethune Avenue. They’re also seeking video captured between 1:30 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Glanford Avenue between McKenzie Avenue and Quadra Street. 

Police say no one was injured in the fire, which is a relief to those who live at Bethune Ridge.

“It’s a complex full of children, so it’s absolutely terrifying,” added Huxtable.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Saanich Police at 250-475-4321.

(Saanich fire crews are seen battling a car fire in the 3400-block of Bethune Avenue. Sunday, April 2, 2023. Photo courtesy: Rebecca Bradley)

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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