It appears there's a serial arsonist at work in Stanley Park.
Another two fires deliberately set in the park overnight Tuesday adds to that theory.
Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services responded to the first fire in
the park on Malkin Bowl Road where a garbage can was ignited just after midnight Sept. 19.
The second and more serious fire occurred around 12:20 a.m. Wednesday morning at the clubhouse at Brocton Oval. Photographs from the scene show the clubhouse was heavily damaged in the blaze. Fire and Rescue have deemed the fires as deliberately set.
In a news release, Captain Gabe Roder, public relations and media liaison for Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services said the fire extended into the roof making it extremely difficult to fight.
The damage was initially estimated at about $200,000, but Vision Vancouver park board chair Sarah Blyth says the final tally likely will be much higher.
"The damage is worse than we thought," said Blyth, who visited the scene Wednesday morning. "But we can't put a dollar value on it just yet."
Blyth is upset Stanley Park appears to be the target of an arsonist or arsonists.
"Myself and the other commissioners are very concerned and we're going to do our best to make sure this doesn't happen again," said Blyth. "It's very sad to see this happen in Stanley Park."
She noted a meeting was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon between the park board, Vancouver Police Department, Fire and Rescue and owners of businesses located within the park to discuss the recent arsons. In June, arson completely destroyed one park board vehicle and heavily damaged two others parked adjacent to stables belonging to Stanley Park Horse Drawn Tours and the VPD mounted unit. Luckily no horses were injured.
Earlier in June, a fire deemed "suspicious" by the VPD destroyed the station of the Stanley Park Miniature Railway. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries fighting that blaze. In February 2011, arson damaged two carriages at Stanley Park Horse Drawn Tours.
After the June fire, park ranger and security patrols were increased in Stanley Park. Blyth says security will now be tighter than ever.
"We're going to develop an emergency plan with all our partners," said Blyth. "We're also asking the public to report anything suspicious and be very mindful of any types of fire in the park."
Blyth will also be in attendance at the Dunbar Harvest Festival, which takes place in various locations in that neighbourhood Sept. 22 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the AprŠs Harvest Festival to follow.
Blyth and NPA commissioner John Coupar have both volunteered to take their place in the dunk tank to help raise money for Children's Hospital. Blyth notes this will be an ideal opportunity for anyone holding a grudge against the park board to seek revenge-so long as they have a good aim.
"But I think John and I will be so busy trying to dunk each other, other people might not get the chance," said Blyth, who adds she'd like a dunk tank installed at the park board's main meeting room.
Blyth and Coupar should be in position beginning around noon Sept. 22. Because the festival is spread across Dunbar Village, a free bus will provide transportation between various activities, including an urban farmers market, live music, performances by children's entertainers Bobs & Lolo, Nearly Neil and a giant Twister game.
For more information visit dunbarvillage.ca.