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Police investigate string of arson fires in James Bay

Victoria police are looking for witnesses, surveillance footage and dashcam video after four arson fires Tuesday in residential parking areas in James Bay near Beacon Hill Park. It began with a vehicle fire just before 3 a.m.
Victoria police
Victoria police

Victoria police are looking for witnesses, surveillance footage and dashcam video after four arson fires Tuesday in residential parking areas in James Bay near Beacon Hill Park.

It began with a vehicle fire just before 3 a.m. in a parking area under some suites at a building on Academy Close. Two vehicles were damaged, along with the exterior walls of the suite above.

“If it wasn’t for the quick response, frankly, of the Victoria Fire Department and the people who reported the fire, that actually could have been a very, very serious incident,” said Victoria police spokesman Bowen Osoko. “There’s a disregard for human life here that’s actually really concerning to our investigators.”

At the same time, someone called 911 after seeing a small fire in a parking structure at a multi-unit residential building about a block away on Humboldt Street. Police found evidence of a small, deliberately set fire that had not fully ignited.

About 7:30 a.m., firefighters called police to a multi-unit residential building two blocks away in the 200-block of Douglas Street after they had extinguished a fire that had been set under a canopy. Exterior walls were damaged.

Finally, an arson fire was discovered about 1 p.m. at another multi-unit residential building in the 200-block of Douglas. It also did not fully ignite.

Osoko said rainy conditions could have been responsible for curtailing the fires that did not ignite completely, and there might have been other fires police don’t know about.

Call Victoria police at 250-995-7654, extension 1, with information or report anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

jbell@timescolonist.com