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Woman set on fire in ‘shocking attack’ in Downtown Eastside: police

In a separate incident a man's shelter was set on fire while he was sleeping inside.

Police are investigating two cases where fire was used on people in the Downtown Eastside.

In one case a woman in her 50s was sitting on the west side of Dunlevy Avenue near Oppenheimer Park, according to the Vancouver Police Department, on Monday, July 25 at around 1:30 a.m.

While sitting there a stranger allegedly approached her, poured something flammable on her head, and lit it on fire.

The woman was able to run to a business for help, but not before suffering serious burns. She was taken to a hospital for treatment.

“This was a shocking attack that targeted a vulnerable member of our community,” says Const. Tania Visintin in a press release. “We need witnesses and anyone with information to call police and help solve this crime.”

The suspect is described as a white male in his 30s, but further details haven't been released. He fled the area before police were called.

A second, similar case was been reported to police.

Between 12:30 and 1:30 a.m. a man reported that while he was sleeping in his homemade shelter, it was set on fire. The structure was set up in the southbound lane of Columbia Street near the intersection with West 5th Avenue, according to police.

The man put the fire out himself; luckily he wasn't injured in the incident.

“Investigators don’t believe the two incidents are connected,” adds Visintin. “However, it is still very early in the investigation, so we are not ruling anything out.”

Both investigations are active and police are looking for anyone with information; tips can be called in to the major crimes team at 1-604-717-2541 or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.