Because I have to write something ....
Fire at Cook Street apartment deliberate
Set by knife-wielding intruder, tenant says as she and cats escape
By Matthew Pearson, Times Colonist
July 19, 2009
StoryPhotos ( 1 )
Victoria firefighters saved two cats from a smoking building on Cook and Haultain streets as they worked to extinguish the fire.
Photograph by: Adrian Lam, Times Colonist
A fire in a Victoria basement apartment that caused $150,000 in damage Sunday morning was deliberately set, officials said.
Firefighters were called to the three-unit strata building at the corner of Cook and Haultain streets just after 10 a.m., where heavy smoke and three-metre flames billowed out of the basement suite windows.
Victoria fire prevention Lt. Steven Meikle said the blaze began on a couch in the living room and quickly gutted the two-bedroom apartment.
Acting Sgt. Iain Campbell confirmed Victoria police are treating the fire as a crime, but said the investigation is in its preliminary stages.
Police have no suspects, but did interview the apartment’s lone female occupant.
Earlier in the day, a 33-year-old woman who escaped the fire told the Times Colonist the blaze had been lit by a knife-wielding intruder.
The black-haired woman, who said her first name was Kim but did not want to give her last name, said she was alone in the apartment when someone smashed the kitchen window on the Haultain Street side of the building.
She said she tried to barricade the window from the inside with boards, but the intruder did not relent.
When she saw a woman’s legs and a knife coming through the window, Kim said, she ran to her bedroom, locked the door and banged on the ceiling to get the attention of her upstairs neighbours.
She said she did not see the intruder’s face, but did hear something that sounded like a blowtorch.
When smoke began seeping into the bedroom, she crawled out a window and ran for help.
Meanwhile, John Moss was biking toward downtown when he heard a woman calling for help.
“I just turned the corner and heard her yelling,” he said.
Moss said flames were pouring out of the front door and called 9-1-1.
Kim, who said she has lived in the apartment since last October, was shaken as she surveyed the damage.
“I feel sick. All of my stuff is gone,” she said.
The freelance graphic designer said she lived alone in the apartment and did not have insurance.
She said she could not think of anyone who might want to break into her apartment.
Fire officials on scene said an orange cat escaped the house on its own, but was treated by firefighters with oxygen. A white cat was pulled from the upstairs suite. Both were taken away by the SPCA.
Kim said the cats belong to her upstairs neighbours, who were not home at the time of the fire.
Once the fire was out, she crawled barefoot back into her apartment through a bedroom window and re-emerged several minutes later with a laptop computer, a cigarette and a bottle of iced tea. SAY WHAT???? I have a hard time believing she would be allowed to do this. Is that normal?
Victoria fire battalion chief Bruce McLean said the basement suite sustained heavy fire and smoke damage, while the main floor suite suffered smoke damage. The wiring to the house was severely damaged, so electrical power to the house was cut off as a precaution.
Neither apartment is currently habitable, but the third unit in the building was untouched, McLean added.
© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist
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07-20-2009, 10:41 AM #1
- Join Date
- May 2002
- Now in Victoria, BC. I'm from beautiful Jasper Alberta in the heart of the Can. Rockies - will always be an Albertan at heart!
Knife-wielding intruder sets couch on fire with blowtorch!September 11th - Never Forget
I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.
IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
RAY WAS HERE FIRST
07-20-2009, 10:54 AM #2
Unbelievable! She needed a smoke that badly? I'm just glad nobody else was hurt.
07-20-2009, 11:27 AM #3
Ever notice how a "fueled"torch becomes a blowtorch,Even though true blowtorches haven't been used for years. I have one and a true blowtorch is a scary weapon.And there's a reason they're no longer used. T.C.
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