Firefighters extinguish a fire in a barbecue of a second-storey apartment patio on Ware Street in Abbotsford on Sunday morning.

Stranger climbs onto B.C. family’s second-floor balcony, lights fire in barbecue

Incident in Abbotsford terrifies family with two-year-old boy

An Abbotsford family is recovering from a harrowing experience, when a stranger climbed onto their second-storey apartment balcony and set a fire.

It happened on Sunday morning in the 2600 block of Ware Street at the home of a couple and their two-year-old son.

The woman, Ashley (who asked that her last name not be published), wrote on Facebook that the family was woken up by a “huge smash” on their patio, and they thought someone was breaking in.

The first thing they noticed when they rushed toward their patio was that the living room window was smashed and a man was “babbling and yelling, not making sense, acting wild.”

They then noticed their new barbecue was on fire, with flames so high they touched the ceiling. The blaze caused the glass panels on their patio to explode.

They grabbed a huge jug from their water cooler and dumped it on the flames.

Meanwhile, the stranger – still screaming and babbling – had jumped onto their neighbours’ patio.

An off-duty police officer was driving by on his way to work and called the fire department.

READ MORE: Woman found dead after Abbotsford apartment fire

Once the fire was out, the couple was able to survey the damage.

“Blood and glass all over my couch and my son’s elephant teddy. Our window is smashed out. The patio is a huge mess. My treasured wooden table is taken apart and smashed into pieces. There’s water and glass everywhere in our house,” Ashley wrote.

Police also arrived and had to knock down the neighbours’ door to get the man off the patio and arrest him.

Ashley said she then learned the stranger had apparently used her vintage wooden table on the patio to light the fire in their barbecue with the intent of “cooking” drugs.

She said several of her son’s toys and their Christmas lights were also tossed onto the fire.

MICHAEL RODDEN

The incident makes her “absolutely sick.”

“Apparently, we aren’t safe in our homes anymore, even on second-floor ‘secure’ buildings … I’m just thankful my son is OK and the fire didn’t spread into our house thanks to the Abby fire team,” Ashley wrote.

Michael Rodden, 32, has been charged with arson and mischief in relation to the incident, and remains in custody.

According to the provincial court database, Rodden has numerous convictions for offences such as possession of stolen property, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, uttering threats, stealing vehicles, break-and-enter, unlawful confinement, possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking, and possession of child pornography. The convictions date back to 2006 and almost all of them occurred in Abbotsford.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

This is the aftermath of a fire that was set on a second-storey apartment patio on Ware Street in Abbotsford on Sunday morning. A number of items were also destroyed, including a vintage table, and the glass panels were shattered from the fire.

Just Posted

Northern Health preparing ‘for a changing situation’ in response to COVID-19

The health authority is taking a number of measures to free up hospital capacity where possible

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Northwest Regional Airport says ridership extremely low amid COVID-19

The airport has enacted enhanced sanitary measures and reduced flights

Canfor closes Houston and Plateau mills temporarily

Three-week closure in response to COVID-19 crisis

Coastal GasLink will consult with health authorities before construction recommences

The company continues to perform environmental monitoring, pipe delivery and stockpile

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Morning world update: Cases surge past 600,000; positive news in Germany

Spain suffers its deadliest day as Germany considers April 20 to possibly loosen restrictions

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

Most Read