Arson suspect sought after another suspicious church fire in B.C.'s Fraser Valley
Police are searching for an arson suspect after responding to another church fire in B.C.'s Fraser Valley on Wednesday evening.
Authorities said the suspicious blaze started at the Central Heights Church in Abbotsford at around 8 p.m., but that firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the flames.
"At the time of the fire, the church was closed and unoccupied. No one was injured and the fire was extinguished with minimal damage," the Abbotsford Police Department said in a news release.
"At this time, no motive has been identified."
Investigators obtained surveillance video of a suspect described as a dark-skinned man with an average build who is 30 to 40 years old and 5'8" to 5'10" tall.
Police said he was wearing a grey baseball hat, a bright yellow rain jacket, a white muscle shirt, black and white shoes, and "blue/green shorts with a pattern." He was also carrying a dark brown or black backpack.
Authorities did not release the surveillance video or any still images from the recording. Police asked anyone who witnessed the fire or has additional video of the area around the church, which is located at 1661 McCallum Rd., from Wednesday evening to contact them.
A growing number of Canadian churches have been targeted with arson and vandalism in recent weeks, which some have speculated may be connected to the horrific discovery of unmarked graves at former residential school sites – though most of the culprits remain at large.
The Catholic Church administrated an estimated 70 per cent of the schools, while others were run by Anglican, United and Presbyterian churches.
Earlier on Thursday, Vancouver police confirmed they have responded to 13 incidents of mischief and vandalism at church properties since early June.