30-year-old man arrested following suspicious fires set at Camosun Interurban and PISE

30-year-old man arrested following suspicious fires set at Camosun Interurban and PISE

A photo showing Saanich fire crews fighting the small fire at PISE Photo: Dan Wood)

A photo showing Saanich crews fighting the small fire at PISE (Photo: Dan Wood)

A 30-year-old Victoria man was arrested and could face charges after he was believed to have sparked fires at Camosun’s Interurban Campus and at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence early Sunday morning.

The incident has caused Camosun to close their PISE, Centre for Business/Access and Trades Centre buildings on their Interurban campus for assessment. Any classes Monday in those buildings are canceled for the day.

All other buildings on the campus are open.

The University of Victoria is allowing any paid PISE members to use their CARSA facilities on Monday and Tuesday, your current membership card is all that is required.

The Saanich Fire Department says they responded to the PISE building following a general alarms activation at 2:20 a.m., when they arrived they discovered a broken glass door and two small fires set. They were able to extinguish both quickly with help of the sprinkler system.

Around 15 minutes later an intruder and fire alarm were both tripped in the nearby Camosun College Interurban Campus at the Centre for Business and Access building. Saanich police were called to the scene and searched the building before allowing Saanich fire to extinguish the single small fire.

Officials say the man was apprehended after a K9 unit was called in.

Police are recommending serval charges of break and enter, arson, mischief and theft. The man is still in custody.

All of the fires are under investigation. One of the fires in PISE was set in the foyer at a bulletin board and was about one square-metre, the other was in the weight room and was three square-metres.

The fire in the CBA building was around one square-metre and was  from bulletin and poster boards set on fire.

As a result there was water damage for PISE in the specific areas and minimal damage to the CBA.

“Our major concern is health and safety of student and staff,” said Joan Yates, Camosun’s vice president of student services.

“We are continuing to ascertain the impact on buildings and air filtration… we are glad no one was hurt [but] it’s getting near the end fo term, not great timing but safety first.”

Most classes on the campus end next week.

The Saanich fire department says they were able to contain the fires quickly

“You never know what your going to get at a large building,” said Saanich Deputy Fire Chief Dan Wood.

“We often go to these buildings for false alarms… although our crews are trained to be ready for anything.”

As the sprinklers activated in the specific areas the alarms were activate, widespread water damage to the buildings did not occur.

Julian KolsutJulian Kolsut

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