Alleged arson on campus was no prank

Students react to Monday's fires set on campus

Vancouver police and firefighters respond to the alleged arson attacks on campus Monday. Photo: Patrick Penner
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Reported by Christina Dommer

An alleged arson that set T Building ablaze was no April Fools’ joke, Langara student Sasha Cross later learned.

“I thought that maybe it could’ve been an April Fools’ prank, since it did happen on the first of April,” Cross said.

Last Monday at 11:30 a.m., the second floor of T Building was damaged by fire after several incendiary devices were detonated. Police arrested Nasradin Abdusamad Ali, a student enrolled at Langara, in connection to the suspicious fires. Nobody was injured. The college released a timeline of the events that unfolded on April 1st, but different students have different recollections. With over 15,000 students enrolled this semester talking all at once, some details of the evacuation can get twisted.

Cross also heard of other rumours about the evacuation Monday, including reports from students that smoke was coming from a T Building classroom.

“Some fire trucks, too, were parked beside the T Building, with water coming out of somewhere outside the T Building,” Cross said. “I think they were cleaning.”

Ahilya Sharma, a psychology student, had a class in T Building the morning of the fire, but she was barred from entering the building. A while later, though, Sharma was allowed in.

“So I walked into class, and then after maybe about an hour, another lady came and told us we had to evacuate,” Sharma said. “I knew that something bad was going on already, so when the alarm rang, I knew what to do.”

Health sciences student Gurleen Toor was headed to a class at 4 p.m. on Monday, but other students told her to turn back because of the fire. On Wednesday morning, Toor asked a classmate about the evacuation.

“She was like, ‘a student had a bomb with him’,” Toor said. “And then I saw stories on the Langara website, … it was really hard for me to trust that a student would (do that).”

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