British Columbia

House fire leads to homicide investigation near Chilliwack

Homicide investigators are investigating after a Chilliwack home went up in flames following an explosion during a police standoff on Thursday afternoon.

Serious police incident began Thursday afternoon, fire crews were called to douse flames

RCMP kept a large section of Llanberis Way closed, after a serious incident Thursday. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Homicide investigators are investigating after a Chilliwack home went up in flames following an explosion during a police standoff on Thursday afternoon.

After the fire neighbour Linda Anderson said police told her they were investigating two suspicious deaths in the home, but that information has not been confirmed by police.

The incident began on Llanberis Way, east of Chilliwack, B.C., around 4:30 a.m. PT when a large number of police were called to the dead-end street.

A member of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team leaves the taped off section of Llanberis Way, Thursday night. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Anderson said the incident began when heavily armed police arrived and began yelling at a man in the house to come out.

She said the incident then suddenly escalated.

"There were five shots, then the two explosions," said Anderson. "Smoke bombs going off — that's what started the fire in the living room."

"There were two small bombs, one upstairs window, one through the living room window, and then it was just a matter of minutes before the whole thing went up," said Anderson.

Police then evacuated the neighbourhood.

Marilyn Maljaars lives across the street from the house.

"The whole street, everybody around the house was evacuated, and the ones that weren't home, we weren't allowed in," said Meljaars.

"It was unbelievable how many cop cars, and an armoured tank came in," she said.  "We were shocked, it's an awesome neighbourhood, and really great neighbours."

Officials haven't yet explained exactly what took place in the fire-damaged house.

Police kept a large section of the street closed, with police tape up throughout the night.

With files from Chantelle Bellrichard