Ina Ceresney can’t think of anyone who might have reason to set fire to her home of 55 years.
But it appears someone did — deliberately started a fire at the front entrance to the house in the 23200 block of 88 Avenue in Fort Langley.
Ceresney, an 86-year-old great-grandmother, was awakened around 4 a.m. Friday morning (Jan. 17) by a strange sound.
“Tin, rattling,” is how she described it to the Langley Advance Times.
She wondered whether her visiting daughter, Kathryn, was doing some early morning baking.
But when she realized it was coming from outside, Ina looked through her front window and saw an “orange glow.”
“The fire was right on the front door,” Ina recalled.
Kathryn also heard the strange noise, and was wondering whether Ina had decided to shovel the snow off her front walkway by herself.
Kathryn had come in from Vancouver to help her mother clear the walkway and driveway and was staying overnight.
Just as she was getting ready to “give mom heck,” about shovelling by herself, Kathryn heard Ina yelling.
Both grabbed their coats and boots and got out by the back door, unhurt.
Township of Langley deputy fire chief Russ Jenkins said fire investigators determined the fire was “suspicious” and have turned the matter over to RCMP.
Langley RCMP Staff Sgt. Dave Chiasson described the case as an “active investigation” and confirmed that police were canvassing the area for possible witnesses.
Kathryn said she and her mother are grateful for the assistance they received from the police and fire crews who responded to the call.
“We really want to thank everyone,” Kathryn commented.
Both were staying at a friend’s house on Saturday.
Ina, who has insurance, said an initial assessment determined the fire didn’t do any serious structural damage, but repairs could take several months.
It is the first claim she has made on her policy in 55 years.
Kathryn said they’ve been told by the restoration company that it could take four to six weeks to carry out tests for toxins like asbestos or lead due to the age of the house before repairs are carried out.
She added officers have advised them to take precautions and keep their doors locked.
“We don’t know if the house was targeted, we don’t know if mom was targeted,” Kathryn said.
On Saturday, a private security guard was on the scene.
Anyone with information that might assist with the investigation is asked to call Langley RCMP at 604-532-3200. To remain anonymous, contact CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.solvecrime.ca.