Smithers Fire Rescue (SFR) believes a fire at Alpine Court last night was set.
Fire Chief Keith Stecko said the fire department responded to a call for service at approximately 7:30 p.m. for a fire in a building at the affordable housing development that serves as an office and laundry facility.
“The structure was well-engulfed with fire and we believe it to be an arson-set fire,” he said.
No one was in the building at the time and no injuries were reported.
An investigation is being conducted by SFR and RCMP.
Cpl. Kevin Christensen said they were called in just after 8 p.m. because the fire chief, who is an approved arson investigator, found a burn pattern that was suspicious.
Police are currently conducting interviews in the neighbourhood trying to confirm whether the arson was accidental or deliberate, he said.
Despite the dramatic nature of the blaze, Stecko does not believe the building is a write-off.
“There’s severe damage to the roof structure, but the building structure itself and foundation are intact,” Stecko said.
Eyewitnesses of the blaze credited firefighters for their rapid response and professionalism.
Stecko downplayed the praise saying the department responded as usual and that he is always proud of his team.
“This community is very lucky to have a group of highly compassionate, mission-orientated people that put their safety at risk in order to protect the community and we’re lucky to have a group of dedicated volunteers to do that,” he said.