Charges sworn in Cloverdale barn fire

Surrey man charged with arson and assault with a weapon in connection with an April 1 barn fire.

A Surrey man arrested last week in connection with a barn fire in Cloverdale has been charged with arson and assault with a weapon.

Police confirmed Friday that charges against a 46-year-old man who was arrested April 1 – shortly after the blaze killed an unspecified number of farm animals and caused extensive damage to a building in the 16600-block of 50 Avenue – were sworn Wednesday.

There are two assault charges, related to minor injuries suffered by two men during an argument that occurred just before the fire.

Ignacio Pitpitan Medina of Surrey is due back in Surrey Provincial Court on April 16.

SPCA officials have confirmed the property where the fire occurred is familiar to them. Surrey firefighters who doused the flames contacted the society with concerns about the condition of animals they saw.

Senior animal-protection officer Eileen Drever told PAN the society’s cruelty investigators were not dispatched; however, “night emergency” officers did attend.

The fire was among three suspicious blazes last week; two in Surrey and one on the Surrey/Langley border.

Police investigating the first – in a former mushroom barn on March 31 in the 18600-block of 88 Avenue – say while they remain suspicious “because of some of the circumstances around it,” the case is closed until such time as new information is found.

According to the police report, no physical evidence to determine the fire’s exact cause or justify a criminal investigation has been uncovered.

Meanwhile, a Langley man is facing more than a dozen charges – including three counts of attempted murder – in connection with an early morning fire April 2 in the 19600-block of Wakefield Drive.

Andre Harvey Richard, 44, was arrested Thursday morning near Fernie, following a manhunt that began in the hours after the fire broke out.

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