House fire on River Road.

House fire on River Road.

Maple Ridge house fire now arson investigation

Maple Ridge man, 31, arrested.

A 31-year-old man has been arrested and arson is the suspected cause of a fire that destroyed a three-storey house on River Road in Maple Ridge on Sunday.

Jacob James Michael Jones has been charged with break and enter, arson, and possessing stolen property. He appeared in court on Wednesday and has been remanded in custody to await his next appearance, according to police.

The fire occurred around 8:20 p.m. Sunday. Nine trucks and 45 firefighters from the Maple Ridge department responded, said assistant chief Mark Smitton.

Flames were through the roof by the time they arrived.

With the fire, smoke and water damage, Smitton added, the house is probably a “rebuild.”

The owners of the home were away for the weekend, but returned home that night.

Witnesses reported that the house appeared to have been “ransacked.”

The fire appeared to have started in the basement at the rear of the home and quickly spread to the attic, said another.

Neighbours entered the garage and removed gas and propane tanks and pulled out a race car. They tried to grab other memorabilia, such as pictures, but the fire grew too large.

Fire crews attacked the fire defensively and worked for about two hours to bring the fire under control. They spent the next two days investigating the cause, along with Ridge Meadows RCMP.

“This has resulted in the fire being classified as an arson, and police making this arrest,” said RCMP Cpl. Brenda Winpenny.

“This file fully illustrates how working together can help a file progress quickly.”

The investigation is continuing.