Investigators sift through debris from a fire at Cedar Valley Memorial Gardens. A suspect has been arrested in connection with this and two other fires near Ladysmith.

Police arrest suspect for three suspicious fires

NANAIMO – Cedar Memorial Gardens one of three businesses targeted by set fires late Sunday.

A 54-year-old man has been arrested in connection with suspicious fires that occurred at the Cedar Memorial Gardens in Cedar, and fires at the Ivy Green Husky gas station  and a grader in Ladysmith.

Police and responded shortly after 10 p.m. Sunday to Cedar Memorial Garden, at 2347 Cedar Rd. to a break-in, but upon arrival found the building engulfed in flames with North Cedar Volunteer Fire Department firefighters battling the blaze.

Percy Tipping, North Cedar fire chief, said the fire was being fuelled by natural gas and that the fire is suspicious and under police investigation.

“We had to wait for Fortis B.C. to isolate the gas service. It was just too intense for us to get to it,” Tipping said. “Basically we just controlled the fire from a distance. Once the gas was isolated then we were able to extinguish the fire.”

Damage to the roof of the building is extensive, Tipping said

Ron Gueulette, Cranberry Volunteer Fire Department chief, who was on scene said it appeared a natural gas line to the building had been vandalized and ignited.

No one was injured by the blaze.

Ladysmith RCMP reported to two more suspicious fires, one at 11:20 p.m. at the Ivy Green Husky gas station on the Island Highway just north of Ladysmith and a fire in a grader on a property off of Breton Page Road. Minimal damage was reported from the gas station fire, but the grader suffered about $28,000 in damage.

North Oyster Volunteer Fire Department provided mutual aid to the Cedar Memorial Gardens and Grader fires.

Investigators identified a suspect vehicle, which was located a short time later in Cedar.  The lone male occupant was arrested without incident and was scheduled to appear in court Monday.

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