Mill Bay mall fire that shut down Highway 1 considered suspicious, RCMP say

The fire at the vacant Pioneer Square Mall in Mill Bay that shut down Highway 1 for several hours on Friday is considered suspicious, Mounties say.

A spokesperson for BC RCMP tells CTV News Saturday that investigators have not yet found any evidence suggesting the blaze was intentionally set. Rather, the fire is considered suspicious because of "a couple of recent arsons" at the same location.

The Shawnigan Lake detachment is investigating those other files, and is holding the scene from Friday's blaze until the return of a fire investigator on Monday, the spokesperson says.

At least one building was destroyed in the large fire that broke out Friday afternoon. Flames and heavy smoke were visible from a nearby stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway before 1 p.m.

The highway was quickly closed to traffic as firefighters staged trucks on the roadway at the intersection with Shawnigan Lake-Mill Bay Road.

The highway remained closed to traffic in both directions for several hours, reopening to northbound traffic around 6 p.m. and in both directions around 6:30.