British Columbia

East Vancouver man told to clean up mess after belongings catch fire

Paul Hughes’ pile of belongings caught fire in a yard outside his landlord’s house early Sunday morning. Fire crews prevented it from spreading to the main house.

'It’s hard to change bad habits,' said Paul Hughes, whose belongings were destroyed in a suspicious fire

Vancouver firefighters extinguish some small flames in the scorched pile of Hughes' belongings. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

An East Vancouver man has a mess to clean up after a suspicious fire destroyed a pile of belongings he was keeping outside of his landlord's house.

Paul Hughes, a tenant of the house near the intersection of Stainsbury Drive and Victoria Drive, woke up to the smell of smoke after hearing some laughter outside his room just before 4 a.m. Sunday.

Hughes rushed outside and discovered that a pile of belongings he had been keeping outside was on fire.

He and his landlord immediately tried to put the fire out, with Hughes suffering a couple minor burns in the process.

Hughes says he plans to take this weekend to clean up the pile outside his landlord's house. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

"I just thought I could put it out with a bucket … it was escalating quite quickly," said Hughes. "I threw about ten buckets on it."

Vancouver Fire responded to a neighbour's 911 call quickly and managed to extinguish the  fire before it could spread to the main house.

Hughes' landlord, who did not want to be named, described him as a 'packrat' and said Hughes has to clean up the mess now.

Vancouver Fire believes the cause of the blaze is suspicious. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

"I'll just get some garbage bags and work away at it," said Hughes, who added he had been too lazy to clean it up in the first place.

"Putting my stuff outside … someone coming along lighting it on fire … I guess that's a good lesson to learn," he said. "It's hard to change bad habits."

The fire is currently under investigation, and is considered suspicious at this time.

Hughes, left, said all this stuff on the sidewalk in front of the house belongs to his landlord. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)