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Metro Vancouver police seek attempted arson suspect following devastating church fire

The church that burned down had been the site of an attempted arson the week prior.
SurreyChurch-Arson-Suspect
After the fire that destroyed Surrey's St. George Coptic Orthodox Church on July 19, 2021, the RCMP is looking for a suspect from a previous arson attempt.

Surrey RCMP are seeking a suspected attempted arsonist after a fire destroyed St. George Coptic Orthodox Church this weekend.

The church in the Whalley neighbourhood was destroyed by a fire on July 19. Surrey Fire Service (SFS) was alerted to the fire around 3 a.m. in the 13900-block of 108 Street.

"Thankfully, no one was injured in the fire however, the church has been destroyed," says the Surrey RCMP in a press release.

According to the SFS, the roof collapsed. They were able to douse the surrounding area to keep flames from spreading.

The police and fire service are now working on a joint investigation into the cause. While they are still waiting for the debris to cool, they are treating the fire as suspicious, states the RCMP.

That's partly due to a previous arson attempt at the church.

"On July 14, 2021, the St. George Coptic Orthodox Church was the target of an attempted arson, which was reported to police after damage was discovered on the door of the church," states the RCMP. "Surveillance video confirmed that at approximately 2:33 a.m. on July 14, a female suspect lit items on fire at the door of the church and immediately left the area."

The woman is described as Caucasian, standing 5'7" with a heavy build. At the time of the video, she had dark hair and was wearing a black hoody, a black tank top, black tights with a flower print and black flip flops.

Anyone with information about the woman or this weekend's fire is asked to call the Surrey RCMP or Crime Stoppers. However, the RCMP notes the two incidents may not be linked.

Tips can be called into the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502 or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477)

With files from Canadian Press