British Columbia

2 suspects arrested in connection with major 2016 White Rock fire

The fire at the Five Corners area in 2016 displaced dozens of residents and caused millions in damages.

RCMP say suspects arrested for arson, break and enter, and theft among other offences

Flames seen shooting out of a four-storey building under construction in White Rock's Five Corners area on Sunday, May 15, 2016. (William Thomas Brooks)

RCMP in White Rock, B.C., have arrested two men in connection with a devastating fire in 2016 that displaced dozens of residents and caused millions of dollars in damages. 

Police say the unnamed suspects were arrested for arson, break and enter, and theft among other offences. According to RCMP, one of the men is a local while the other resides outside the Lower Mainland. 

"We would like to thank the community and victims of this fire for their patience in awaiting this news," said Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls in a written statement.

On May 15, 2016, a fire quickly overtook an under-construction condo and spread to surrounding occupied residences and business at the Five Corners area of White Rock.

The fire displaced more than 100 residents, resulted in millions of dollars in damages and used up nearly all of the city's water supply, said RCMP. 

'Detailed and complex investigation'

RCMP previously told CBC News it was quickly evident the fire was intentionally set but that it would be difficult to prove. 

"This was a detailed and complex investigation that involved multiple evidentiary scenes, forensic analysis, the involvement of approximately 120 police and civilian witnesses that held a small piece of the puzzle or contributed to the investigation over the last five years," Pauls said.

The suspects have been released and charges will be recommended to the B.C. Prosecution Service, RCMP say. 

White Rock Fire Department Chief Phil Lemire previously told CBC News this was the biggest and most catastrophic fire he has seen in his 38-year career. 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bailey Martens is a journalist at CBC News in Vancouver. You can reach her at bailey.martens@cbc.ca.

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