Two vehicles were destroyed and four others were damaged by fire early Tuesday in Maple Ridge after a man broke into a tow yard and torched a car parked inside.
Around 3:45 a.m., video surveillance captured the man climbing over the fence of Maple Ridge Towing on McKay Avenue, off River Road, with a jerry can in his hand.
Owner Randy Sorley said the man searched a Toyota Camry, removed several items, then set it on fire by pouring gas on it.
The fire destroyed a car parked near the Toyota as well, and damaged four others, including a tow truck.
A security company hired to monitor the tow yard’s video feed called 911 and firefighters were on scene within minutes.
Crews had to wait until Sorley’s daughter arrived with a key to let them enter the tow yard, but firefighters soaked the tow truck and several cars near it by shooting water over the fence to keep them from igniting.
“It could have been a lot worse,” said Sorely.
“Our monitoring station saw it happen and started making the phone calls.”
Although six vehicles were damaged, the fire department prevented a dozen other vehicles, all parked in the same row, from catching fire.
Sorely installed the surveillance system when he opened the tow yard four years ago. He now believes the $20,000 expense was worth it.
“This is the first time we’ve actually had someone come in and set fire to a vehicle,” Sorley added.
He wasn’t aware of any threats against the business or angry vehicles owners who had a grudge against it.
“We are usually not privy to why the vehicles are here,” said Sorley.
Police are investigating the fire.