Residents of Gunn Avenue have returned to their homes after a series of fires and a “high risk” police incident forced the evacuation of the Silverdale neighbourhood on Thursday (Oct. 6).
Mission RCMP have now “scaled back “the day-long search for a suspect and “the fires on the property have been put out.”
According to an RCMP statement released to the media, “Police no longer believe there is a threat to anyone on or around the property, and neighbouring residents have since been able to return home. Gunn Avenue remains closed to anyone other than local residents. Mission RCMP’s Serious Crime Unit has now taken conduct of the arson investigation, and investigators will remain on scene in the coming days. No one was taken into custody and there is no ongoing risk to the public.”
The incident began on Wednesday, Oct. 4 at about 6 p.m. when Mission Fire Rescue and the RCMP responded to a report of a structure fire in the 30800 block of Gunn Avenue, Mission, which is believed to have been a vacant property.
First responders arrived to find several buildings on the property on fire, with indications that the fires had been intentionally set.
At 7 a.m. the next day, (Oct. 5), Mission RCMP and the fire department were called to a different property on Gunn Avenue, for another structure fire.
Investigators arrived to find that multiple areas of that property appeared to have been intentionally set ablaze, however due to considerable possible safety risks to all emergency responders, police and fire personnel were forced to keep away from the burning structures.
One male was identified as the suspect, and was believed to still be on the large rural property.
The area was evacuated, locked down and the Lower Mainland Integrated Emergency Response Team was called in to assist police in locating the suspect.
“This has been a challenging situation, with significant safety risks to all first responders” said Cpl. Harrison Mohr of the Mission RCMP.
The public was asked to stay away from the area, and not to share the locations of emergency responders over social media.
Residents have now returned to their homes, but the road is still closed to the public as the investigation continues.