Surrey Fire Chief Larry Thomas said investigators were unable to determine the cause of the blaze that destroyed St. George’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Whalley due to extensive damage by fire.
“It is certainly a suspicious fire and it was probably caused by humans, but there is no evidence of the source of the ignition or how it started, and this is largely due to extensive damage caused by the fire, “he told the Now-Leader. “There is nothing definitive. Most fires, unless you find the gas canister or find an accelerator, it’s hard to tell it was started on purpose. It’s suspicious, sure, and it’s probably human-caused, but we just can’t find any evidence of how it started.
The fire started at the church at 13905 108th Ave. on July 19. Police were called to the scene at 3:17 a.m. No one was hurt because the church was empty at the time. This came five days after an attempted arson attack at the church, in which police said CCTV footage confirmed a woman had lit “items” on fire at the door.
Police continue to search for this woman in connection with the first fire.
Thomas noted that “this site has a high volume of traffic from homeless people, so there is always traffic after hours in the evening. “
Sergeant Elenore Sturko said police recovered CCTV equipment from the ruins.
“It will probably take several days at least before we know if they are functional or not,” she said. The electrical equipment was in a box, “but it burned down so we don’t know if we can use any of it.”
Regarding the first fire, Sturko said police were working on tips.
“I can’t give you more information but we are progressing with this investigation,” Sturko said on Friday. “We will let everyone know as soon as we have things to give to the public.”
In the meantime, a GoFundMe fundraiser had raised $ 10,087 Friday morning of its goal of $ 200,000 to help the congregation of 250 families rebuild their churches.
CCTV footage of the suspect during the first fire, July 14
British Columbia arson investigationreligionsurrey rcmp