Man arrested in series of arsons at Camosun campus, sports centre
A 30-year-old Victoria man was arrested in a series of alleged arsons sparked inside of a Saanich college and athletic centre over the weekend.
Police and firefighters were called to the Pacific Institute for Sports Excellence on Interurban Road at around 2:30 a.m. Sunday
They found the complex had been broken into and multiple fires had been set.
"The sprinklers did their job and contained the fire until our crews could get inside and extinguish it," said Saanich Deputy Fire Chief Dan Wood.
Crews also noticed a glass door had been smashed in – but that was only the beginning.
Intruder and smoke alarms started going off in other buildings around the campus, with new fires igniting as crews worked to extinguish others.
One firefighter found a man in the building believed to be responsible for the blazes, and Saanich police were called in to arrest him with a canine unit.
Aaron Raschke, a 30-year-old Victoria man, was taken into custody and faces charges of break and enter, arson, mischief and theft, according to police.
PISE CEO Robert Battaeur called the arsons "very disappointing and unfortunate," but said the centre would try to clean up smoke and water damage and reopen as soon as possible.
"In a situation like this, the community comes together and finds a solution," he said.
No one was injured in any of the fires.
As many as 2,000 Camosun students were told to stay home Monday, and later in the day school officials said three areas would remain closed Tuesday as staff waited for further air quality test results. The Centre for Business and Access, Centre for Trades Education and Innovation and PISE were affected.
The rest of the campus will remain open.