The Wednesday morning blaze in Fernwood that left a two-storey heritage home ravaged by fire has been deemed arson, according to Victoria Police.
Early this morning, at around 1 a.m., VicPD were called to 1112 Caledonia Avenue, near Cook Street, as officers assisted local fire crews battling the structure fire.
Built in the late 1800s, the house is well over a century old and was designed by former Victoria mayor John Teague. He’s the same architect behind City Hall, notes the Victoria Heritage Foundation.
A photo captured by Victoria Buzz shows the house’s front porch, second-floor balcony and surrounding areas completely destroyed and charred in black soot.
Yuriy Vyshnevskyy, who lives in the house with his wife and three young daughters, is a pastor at the Ukrainian Catholic Church of St. Nicholas, located next door.
Vyshnevskyy told CTV News that his wife awoke moments before the fire erupted to find gasoline poured through the mail slot next to their front door.
When emergency crews arrived on scene, most of the family had escaped the flames, police say. However, one person required ladder rescue by firefighters from a window ledge on the second floor.
They were then sent to hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries, which are now considered non-life-threatening, according to VicPD.
A section of Caledonia Avenue between Cook and Chambers Streets remained closed to vehicle traffic for hours as investigators combed through evidence.
Currently, VicPD says Major Crimes Unit detectives are continuing the investigation into the arson, calling on the public for help and seeking any witnesses, dashcam footage or video from the area between midnight and 1:30 a.m.
Anyone with information is urged to call VicPD’s report desk at (250) 995-7654. Tipsters can submit an anonymous report by calling Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 222-8477.
Major Crimes Unit detectives are seeking dashcam or video footage & witnesses after an arson to an occupied home in #yyj early this morning.
— Victoria Police (@vicpdcanada) April 20, 2022