A New Westminster man has been arrested in connection with the Westminster Pier Park fire, but police don’t believe he poses any further risk to the community.
The New Westminster Police Department has announced it has arrested a suspect for “arson-related offences” in connection with the fire.
“On Tuesday afternoon, our major crime unit did arrest an adult male in connection to the arson,” said Sgt. Sanjay Kumar, the department’s spokesperson. “They are continuing to put their package together for Crown counsel, for charge-approval consideration.”
Although no charges have been laid at this time, the New Westminster Police Department wanted to update the public on the status of the investigation.
“We just thought it was something that the public would want to know, that we are progressing with our investigation. We have gotten to a point where we are not looking for any additional suspects,” Kumar said. “The investigation is still ongoing. We are still hoping people will come forward if they know or saw anything.”
Based on the investigation to date, police do not believe the public is at further risk and they are not looking for additional suspects, stated a press release from the New Westminster Police Department.
“There’s not a serial arsonist going around,” Kumar told the Record.
The suspect has since been released from custody on a number of conditions; police could not say what those conditions are because the investigation is ongoing.
The New Westminster Police Department’s major crime unit is continuing to gather evidence and anticipates forwarding a report to Crown counsel for the consideration of charges.
“If anyone knows anything at all, please come forward and talk to us,” Kumar said. “This is ongoing. We are still collecting evidence.”
In addition to the entire major crime unit, members of the police department’s forensic identification section and street crime unit have been working on the case. All totalled, more than 10 officers are investigating the fire that began at Westminster Pier Park shortly before 8 p.m. on Sept. 13 and continues to burn.
“This is a priority for our department,” Kumar said.
Deputy Chief Const. Paul Hyland noted the complexity of the investigation.
“Fire investigations by their very nature are extremely difficult, and we have had significant resources dedicated to this investigation day and night since the fire began,” he said in a press release. “I am very proud of the hard work and professionalism shown by our members on this file, as public safety has been a paramount concern throughout.”
Chief Const. Dave Jansen acknowledged the impact the fire has had in the city.
“While I am pleased this investigation is moving forward, I am mindful of the significant impact this fire has had,” he said, “and I would like to thank all the first responders, city staff and community members who have contributed to mitigating the impact on our community.”
Police are asking anyone with information about the fire to please contact major crime unit investigators at 604-525-5411.
The Record will continue to update this story as details become available.