Investigations into a fire that swept through four Whistler condominiums in July have revealed the blaze was deliberately set.
“The fire was determined to be a set fire, and the possibility of an accelerant being used is evident,” said Whistler Fire Chief Rob Whitton.
“We are still awaiting to see if the samples that we sent to the lab will reveal anything, but at this time, all indications show that some type of accelerant was used,” he said.
Whitton was not able to confirm the type of accelerant, but said it would be along the lines of gasoline.
Investigations have been taking place since Monday, July 9 th , when the fire seriously damaged four Pinnacle Ridge units in the Blackcomb Benchlands.
Two days following the fire, Whistler Fire Rescue Services called it “suspicious”, and a representative from the Office of the Fire Commission (OFC) was sent to Whistler to assist in the investigation.
Whitton said the fire appears to have been deliberately set based on its location and the rate that it spread. In particular, there were no obvious sources of ignition found on the outside of the building where the fire started.
He added that there have been no other recent fires in Whistler that could be linked to the Pinnacle Ridge blaze.
The fire occurred on one of the few hot, windy days in Whistler this summer. A fire ban had been issued the same day based on the weather conditions.
Whistler Fire Rescue Service received the call at 12:10 p.m. that day, and by the time firefighters arrived on the scene, the blaze had spread through the roofs of units 28, 29, 30, and 31. The wind spread the fire to the roof of unit 43 across the road, which sustained minor damages before being put out.
The units were unoccupied, and no one was injured during the blaze.
There are approximately 60 units in the Pinnacle Ridge complex, valued at well over $1 million each. According to Trevor Renard, property manager for the strata, estimates of the damage remain at $2 million to $3 million.
The Whistler Fire Rescue Services have turned over all future investigations to the RCMP.
“The RCMP are following up. They will be notifying the OFC investigator of their findings, and then that will be part of the police’s ongoing investigation once they receive that information,” said Whitton.
At the time of press, the RCMP investigator could not be reached for comment.