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Police release new video of Burnaby Hospital arson suspect, appeal to public for tips

Both videos were taken before the fire was started

Authorities in Burnaby have released new surveillance video of a suspect they believe was involved in the Burnaby Hospital arson last November. 

Exactly one year ago today on Nov. 15, 2020, firefighters were called to the hospital at 10:14 p.m. for a report of a fire, according to assistant Fire Chief Dave Younger. 

On arrival, they found heavy smoke billowing from several doors and windows in the six-storey north wing, located off Sunset Street and Ingleton Avenue.

Inside the hospital, many patients had already been evacuated to the south side by staff, according to Younger.

Crews located the fire on the second floor in what Younger described as a common area or recreation room.

Seventeen trucks and 58 firefighters responded to the blaze.

The video released today (Nov. 15, 2021) shows a man walking outside of the hospital before stepping into an elevator inside the building during evening hours. Police say both videos were taken before the blaze was started. 

Burnaby RCMP says they can now confirm that the person in the video is a suspect in the case and is believed to have started the fire. A still image was released in 2020 to the public, but it wasn't clear at the time if the individual was involved. 

“We believe the public may be key in helping solve this crime, which caused millions of dollars in damage,” Burnaby RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Mike Kalanj said today. 

“We are asking everyone to take a close look at this video and to contact police if they have any information on this suspect or this arson. We want to hear from anyone with any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, as even a small tip may be important to this investigation."

Over the past year, there have been more than 50 officers assisting with the investigation, reviewing more than 1,500 hours of video footage, according to Burnaby RCMP.

“Significant resources have been put into solving this crime over the past year, but we now need the public’s help to identify this suspect," Burnaby RCMP Investigator Cpl. Andrew Coupe added. 

“If you have information, or saw anything suspicious around the time of this arson, please reach out to us. Our investigators want to hear from you.”

A special phone tip line and email address has been set up for tips about the arson and suspect. 

Anyone with information is asked to call 604-646-9522 or email bghfire@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.

- with files from Cornelia Naylor, Burnaby NOW