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UPDATED: four buildings destroyed in suspicious fire at Christina Lake property renowned for bears/grow op
Update: RCMP Staff Sgt. Jim Harrison said the house on a Christina Lake property was completely destroyed by fire yesterday, along with three outbuildings on the property.
"The house is completely totalled - it collapsed into the basement," he said. "It's just a smoking hole in the ground, now."
He said three outbuildings were likewise annihilated, but the situation could have been far worse.
"If not for the extremely fast response of the Christina Lake fire department and BC Forest Service, we may have had a major forest fire," he added. "It could have endangered the entire community of Christina Lake.
"We're proceeding with the suspicion that it was arson, and we do have people of interest in the investigation."
A Christina Lake property made infamous by a 2010 grow-op raid in which police found more than a dozen semi-tame bears (see http://castlegarsource.com/node/6806#.UD0EDaBidMw) was the site of a massive fire last night.
Police are considering the fire to be suspicious, according to Grand Forks RCMP Staff Sgt. Jim Harrison, who said the call came in just after 5 p.m. about a fire on a property on Haaglund Road. Christina Lake fire crews were already on scene.
"BC Forestry were called in to fight the fire and a water bomber and helicopter were deployed in an effort to contain the fire," he said, adding it took more than four hours to get the blaze under control. "At approximately 9:30 p.m., fire crews had contained the fire and limited the damage to the immediate vicinity of the residence and outbuildings.'
"The property in question was the subject of a search warrant executed by West Kootenay Traffic Service(RCMP) on July 30, 2010 (in which) 1,102 marihuana plants were seized," he said. "This incident was widely reported, as the owner of the property was charged with feeding bears on the property."
"Police are considering the origin of this fire to be suspicious and an investigation has been initiated," Harrison concluded. "A BC Fire Commissioner's fire investigator is assisting with the investigation along with Kootenay Boundary Regional Detachment General Investigation Section investigators."