A stolen truck was used to move a burned-out trailer that was dumped by the dike in Pitt Meadows.
The charred carcass of the trailer was left on a gravel turnout near the North Alouette River on Neaves Road Thursday, two days after it went up in flames outside a house in Maple Ridge.
The F750 delivery truck, used to haul the trailer, was stolen from Single Source Rentals on Kennedy Road in Pitt Meadows. It was spotted by a city work crew on Dec. 29 driving along Neaves Road with the burnt trailer on it.
After the trailer was dumped, the city bylaws department contacted Single Source Rentals to fine the company, only to learn the truck involved had been stolen from the business on Boxing Day.
Michelle Wocknitz, who owns Single Source Rentals with her husband John, said they were shocked when contacted by the bylaws department.
“We told them we were not in possession of the truck and told them to phone the RCMP,” said Wocknitz.
The burned trailer is similar to one photographed outside a house on 117th Avenue in Maple Ridge, where there were two fires in three days last week.
Pitt Meadows bylaw officer Leslie Elchuk compared photographs of the burned trailer in Maple Ridge and the one dumped in Pitt Meadows.
“I believe it’s the same trailer,” she said.
Elchuk is now working to track down the trailer’s owner in order to levy a fine.
Ridge Meadows RCMP recovered the stolen delivery truck on Thursday – the same day the burned trailer was dumped – after someone reported it parked on 209th Street in Maple Ridge.
Jagdev Singh ‘Jack’ Athwal, who owns the property where the trailer burned, did not return calls for comment.
The house he owns in Maple Ridge that was the scene of two fires last week is still off-limits to tenants.
The District of Maple Ridge has posted no occupancy notices on both sections of the duplex after electrical and safety violations were discovered following the fires.
The first fire began on a mattress in a bedroom on Dec. 23, while the second fire destroyed a trailer parked on the same property.
The duplex is owned by Jagdev Singh ‘Jack’ Athwal. Following the fires, the fire department found there were no smoke detectors inside the duplex, as well as an unsafe furnace and holes in walls.
Staff from the District of Maple Ridge cut power off to half the duplex because of the unsafe conditions.
Fire chief Dane Spence said despite the no occupancy notices, the district found out that tenants were living at the property. They have been told to leave, again.
“Our orders are that the building is inhabitable,” said Spence.
“Mr. Athwal has now assured me that no one will be allowed into the property.”
Spence said Athwal is using one of the tenants as a security guard to secure the property while it remains uninhabited. Spence was told the tenant will be sleeping in the carport while he keeps watch on the house.
The fire department also learned that a generator was being used to supply power to the house, which is a violation of the district’s written orders.
“There are outstanding safety concerns with the building and until they are addressed, the building will not be deemed fit for human habitation,” added Spence.
“They are fire and life safety issues to do with the electrical system in the building.”
According to a report to Maple Ridge council, Athwal owns more than 30 rental units in municipality.
He had his business license revoked by the district in 2009 after repeatedly problems with one property – the notorious Northumberland Court townhomes on Fraser Street.
Maple Ridge council, including the mayor, have already received complaints from Athwal accusing the district of discriminating against him.
But Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin won’t be showing Athwal any leniency because he’s afraid someone might get hurt inside the condemned property.
“I didn’t give him any sympathy,” said Daykin.
“If we let the [tenants] stay and there’s a fire and somebody dies, then we are not doing our job. We’d be on the hook.”