The cause of the fire on Ford Road on Feb. 8 remains undetermined, but firefighters say there is no link between the four rural fires in a period of 26 days in Pitt Meadows. (THE NEWS/files)

The cause of the fire on Ford Road on Feb. 8 remains undetermined, but firefighters say there is no link between the four rural fires in a period of 26 days in Pitt Meadows. (THE NEWS/files)

No links between rural fires in Pitt Meadows, says chief

Squatters considered possible cause of Sunday’s blaze on Harris Road

There have been four major, rural fires in Pitt Meadows in 26 days.

But there have been no established links between any of the fires, although the last one is suspicious, said acting fire chief Mike Larsson.

The latest fire was Sunday, when a barn in the 12800 block of Harris Road burned to the ground.

That was preceded by a pair of destructive farm fires in the early morning hours of Feb. 8.

A fire at the Loveridge Farm in the 20100-block of Old Dewdney Trunk Road killed 18 calves and an estimated six more mature dairy cows.

That fire started at midnight, and as firefighters were mopping it up, a warehouse building at a blueberry farm on Ford Road Detour, at the corner of 176th Street, was reported burning at about 5:20 a.m.

On both properties, two buildings were destroyed.

On Jan. 23 there was a shop fire on McNeil Road in which several vehicles burned, including two semi trucks, a backhoe, two ATVs and other equipment. The cause of that fire was deemed to be electrical.

However, there is no definite cause of the three subsequent fires, said Larsson.

“With barn fires, they burn so intensely that a lot of times it’s undetermined.”

He said the recent barn fire is suspicious, because there was no electrical power or gas service to the barn, and there was nothing inside except some scattered straw and hay. The house on the property was renovated but uninhabited, and nobody was one site.

“To us, that’s obviously why it is suspicious.”

He said the property was fenced, and firefighters had cut through the lock on the gate. They were gaining access to the property as the roof fell in. That indicated it had been burning for some time, for the flames to have burned through the supporting beams.

Larsson said the weather had been cold, and in such a situation, with nobody living at the property, squatters must be considered a potential cause of the fire.

Fire investigators are confident the Loveridge Farm dairy barn fire was “an unfortunate, devastating accident,” said Larsson.

And the fire at Ford Road Detour has been classified as undetermined.

The property had been licensed for a medicinal marijuana grow-op. Larsson said he did not see evidence of a grow-op in the wreckage. There were two barrels of diesel in the barn, and as they burned they added considerable heat and more damage to the building. The condition of the building once the fire was out hampered the efforts of investigators. There were walls left standing but unsupported, making it dangerous to be on the scene.

Larsson believes insurance investigators are still working on that fire.

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