A suspicious car fire in Rutland has one woman questioning if it was a targeted attack. (Supplied)

Kelowna RCMP investigate suspicious Rutland car fire as targeted incident of arson

A family who raised their voice against the McCurdy Road house has car torched, is it connected?

A loud explosion woke up one resident in Rutland around 1 a.m., Monday morning. She saw an orange glow through her bedroom curtains and when she pulled them open in a hurry, she saw her Mini Cooper completely engulfed in flames.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, said she believes this could very well be a targeted attack as her husband has been vocal about putting a stop to BC Housing’s McCurdy Road supportive housing project — a 49-unit wet facility that has already broken ground.

“We don’t know for a fact if it’s someone who has to do with the wet house,” she said.

“(Kelowna-Lake Country) MLA Norm Letnick’s office was vandalized — all of the windows were broken — and another guy that was vocal against McCurdy had his gas tank punctured,” she said.

“I can’t say for sure,” she said, regarding who was behind the vandalism. “It could just be coincidental.”

A Kelowna RCMP fire investigator has deemed the incident as an act of arson, Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey said.

“Our investigators have reason to believe that the event was targeted,” he said.

Police are searching for a suspect described as six-feet tall, heavier set man. He was wearing a light-coloured hoodie with the hood up and light-coloured pants and a pair of dark running shoes at the time of incident.

READ MORE: Petition started in protest of Kelowna’s McCurdy Road supportive housing

READ MORE: Rutland community rallies against McCurdy house

She said she is grateful however, that it was just her vehicle that was vandalized.

“I’ve had that car for 12 years, it’s my baby,” she said. “This is so much more heartbreaking.”

The vehicle was also her work vehicle. It was wrapped with her business’ logo, she explained.

“It will make for an interesting Canada Day weekend of weddings,” she said.

Five police cars arrived on scene to assist firefighters, all while her 18-month-old daughter was fast asleep in the home.

READ MORE: Kelowna mayor’s walking tour of Rutland cancelled

The woman said she believes an accelerant was used to start the fire and possibly some explosive-type devices as the flames were so high and the vehicle caught quickly.

“It was definitely pre-meditated because he didn’t use a lighter or something,” she said.

She said she wonders if it was a crime of opportunity as her car had been sitting on the road for a few days, but she said it could very well be a targeted attack due to the family’s involvement with the Rutland protests to the wet facility.

MLA Letnick said the windows of his office were broken, but the individual or individuals behind the act of vandalism were not able to break into the building.

“I have no idea if it is someone who is upset about the position I’ve taken in the letter to the Minister of Housing,” Letnick said. “Or, someone who is not up to speed and believes I am in a position to advocate for this.”

“My concern, of course, is the safety of my staff.”

The MLA wrote an open letter to B.C. Housing Minister Selina Robinson asking her to “pause” the McCurdy housing project until the issues surrounding Heath House and other facilities in the community have been corrected to “the community’s satisfaction.”

“We just don’t want a (wet) facility in with all of our schools,” the woman said. “Change it to a dry facility and everyone would be fine.”

Kelowna RCMP are investigating the fire as arson.

Anyone with additional information is to contact Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Curling Club comedy “Right on the button” for Vernon

Western Canada Theatre production throws humour into the mix of immigration

Missing Vernon man possibly sighted in Lower Mainland

Information leads family, friends to believe Jay Rosenberger near Lower Mainland Saturday

Museum digs up history for ’60s Vernon Winter Carnival

Get Groovin’ with the Grandkids or flashback to the ’60s with tunes, trivia and costumes

City of Enderby apologizes for cemetery damages

‘Very disrespectful’: Headstones at Enderby cemetery damaged by excavation crew

Two-month-old Kelowna boy diagnosed with rare heart disorder returns home from treatment

Arel spent two weeks at B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver after suffering multiple cardiac arrests

WATCH: Cougar caught on doorbell cam in Vernon

Glenn Gorham shares footage of late-night visit from wild cat

House fire quickly knocked down in South Kelowna

According to Kelowna Fire Department, the house sustained interior damage during the blaze

Prolific South Okanagan criminal will be freed for time served

Afshin Ighani pleads guilty to assault charges but will be set free for time served

Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

One tree found with four taps in Mount Doug Park

Shuswap man given six months jail time for possession of child pornography

Forty-six-year-old will be on National Sex Offender Registry for 20 years

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Power outage at Big White

It’s unknown why the power went out Tuesday afternoon

Uber threatens legal action to ‘defend its right’ to operate in Surrey

‘I have no concerns,’ Mayor Doug McCallum replies

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Most Read