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Early morning homicide

UPDATE 10:30 a.m.

A male has passed away following an early morning shooting in South Surrey.

Surrey RCMP and the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) remain on scene.

The female victim is in serious condition at hospital.

Investigators believe it does not appear to be a random act.

The area surrounding the scene remains cordoned off.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation can call the IHIT information line at 1-877-551-IHIT (4448) or by email at [email protected]


UPDATE 9:40 a.m.

Homicide investigators arrived at the scene of the shooting after 8 a.m., suggesting one of the victims may have died.

When arriving on scene, officers found two people suffering from gunshot wounds. The victims were located about a kilometre apart.

One of the victims was a woman, who appeared to have been able to drive away from the location of the shooting onto Highway 99. The second victim, a male, was found in the area where the shooting was reported. 

No arrests have been made.

Officers will be in the area for most of the morning, and roads may be closed as the area is investigated. 

– with files from CTV Vancouver


ORIGINAL 6:07 a.m.

RCMP are investigating a double shooting in South Surrey.

Just after 2 a.m. Monday, police responded to a report of shots fired on the 14300 block of Crescent Road. Officers found two victims suffering from gunshot wounds.

RCMP are still on scene and are canvassing the neighbourhood, speaking with witnesses. Surrey RCMP advise there may be road closures in the area.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or www.solvecrime.ca.



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Search for picker called off

The official search for a woman in northwestern British Columbia has been called off.

Fifty-three-year-old mushroom picker Frances Brown was reported missing nine days ago in a rugged area of the Bulkley Valley, southwest of Moricetown.

As many as 50 search and rescue team members from across the province joined local responders, police and helicopter crews in one of the largest searches conducted in more than a decade in northern B.C.

Several clues, including a camp fire, suggested Brown spent several nights in the bush, but by mid-week no further signs were found.

The search was complicated by heavy rain and snow and officials called it off late Saturday.

RCMP say if more concrete evidence is spotted, the search may resume. 



Bears killed after attack

Two people have been injured by a bear that broke into a home in Mission, B.C.

Murray Smith with the provincial Conservation Officer Service says a Mission resident heard a commotion in her backyard late Saturday night and went to check on her dogs.

He says when she opened the back door, the woman was met by a black bear, which knocked her down, bit her in the back and scratched her.

The woman's boyfriend came and scared the animal back outside, and the woman was taken to hospital where she was treated for superficial injuries.

Smith says conservation officers later found the female bear and her two 34-kilogram cubs in a tree behind the home, and when an officer approached, the female bear attacked, biting the conservation officer on the leg.

The officer was taken to hospital where she received stitches, and all three of the bears were destroyed.

"The reason that decision was made was because all the residents in the neighbourhood said the bears had been in their yards multiple times in the last few days," Smith said.

Neighbours reported seeing the bears eat from fruit trees in the area and get into garbage pails and the behaviour suggests the animals were "human habituated," he added.

"Normally when a person opens their back door, the bear runs away," Smith said. "When a bear decides to challenge and come into a house, that means they've been around people quite a bit."

Mid-October is a particularly difficult time of year for encounters between bears and humans, Smith said, because the animals are trying to fatten up before they go into hibernation.



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Hwy 1 reopens

UPDATED: 4:08 p.m.

Highway 1 has reopened to traffic in both directions, after a collision closed the highway 60 km east of Revelstoke. 

Expect heavy delays due to congestion, according to DriveBC. 

The details of the crash are still unknown. 


ORIGINAL: 2:59 p.m.

Highway 1 is closed in both directions about 60 km east of Revelstoke because of a collision, according to DriveBC.

The accident occurred inside Glacier National Park.

No details of the crash are known.

No detour is available at this time.



Fire destroys mansion

UPDATE: 2:50 p.m.

Investigators in Vancouver are hoping to find the cause of a fire that destroyed a mansion in the upscale Shaughnessy neighbourhood.

The blaze broke out at around 2:40 a.m. Sunday in the 3700 block of Angus Drive.

Flames could be seen shooting through the home’s roof. 

About 45 firefighters were on scene battling the blaze.

A fire department spokesperson called the blaze suspicious. He said it was difficult to put out the fire which had started in a number of areas of the residence.

The 1913-built house was said to be worth $14 million.

The house has been vacant for about five years, neighbours said.

–with files from CTV News

ORIGINAL STORY: 7:35 a.m.

Flames were shooting from the roof of a home during a major fire in Vancouver's Kerrisdale neighbourhood early this morning.

Details are few so far, but it's believed the Angus Drive home was vacant at the time.

The large home went up in flames about 2 a.m., prompting a multiple-alarm response from several Vancouver Fire Department units, CTV reports.

The stubborn blaze flared up repeatedly, and firefighters used a ladder truck to fight the flames from above.

More details as they become available.



Early morning shots fired

Police are investigating an early-morning shooting in Langley.

It appears no one was injured and investigators do not believe there is an increased risk to the public.

RCMP received multiple calls for gunfire in the 21000 block of 79A Avenue just before 4 a.m. on Sunday.

Investigators are on scene and anyone with information is being asked to contact police at 604-532-3200 or anonymously at Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477.

– with files from CTV Vancouver.



Fernie evac order rescinded

An evacuation order around the Fernie Memorial Arena has been lifted six days after three people died from an ammonia leak at the rink.

Residents of approximately 55 homes were told Sunday morning that they can go home.

“The situation at the arena has stabilized and the experts on scene are now comfortable that there is no longer an ammonia threat at the arena," said Fire Chief Ted Ruiter. "It is now safe for residents to return home and the on-scene investigation to continue. The arena and community centre will remain closed to the public."

Two men from Fernie and one from Alberta died last Tuesday and authorities are trying to piece together a timeline leading up to the deaths.

Wayne Hornquist, 59, and Lloyd Smith, 52, worked for the City of Fernie while 46-year-old Jason Podloski worked for refrigeration company CIMCO.

An emergency response team was expected to meet today to discuss cleanup following the tragedy, with details expected to be released this afternoon.

“Air quality monitoring will continue and although residents may notice an intermittent ammonia odour near the arena, we want to assure them there are no risks or health hazards,” said Ruiter.

Specialists from the provincial disaster psychosocial program remain in Fernie to provide support services to anyone who feels they need assistance to help deal with grief and stress.

–with files from The Canadian Press


Watch that highway driving

A Pacific weather system which gave rain and snow to interior highway passes overnight is departing, according to Environment Canada.

Snow changed to rain over the Coquihalla Highway and Allison Pass in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Additional snow fell by the Rogers Pass and the Kootenay Pass leading to slushy conditions, warns DriveBC.

People are asked to be prepared to adjust their driving with changing road conditions. Rapidly accumulating snow could make travel difficult over some locations. Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow.

Road conditions are available at www.drivebc.ca.



Wildfires are more extreme

Climate change didn't directly cause major wildfires in Alberta and British Columbia this year but it did contribute to their extreme nature, says a University of Alberta researcher.

B.C. recorded its worst-ever fire season. Wildfires that began in early April scorched just over 12,000 square kilometres of timber, bush and grassland and at their height forced 45,000 people from their homes.

Last month, Waterton Lakes National Park was evacuated after lightning sparked a blaze just inside the B.C. boundary. The flames eventually crossed into the park in southwestern Alberta.

And this last week, wind-whipped grass fires quickly spread and threatened communities in a swath stretching from the Crowsnest Pass in southwestern Alberta all the way into Saskatchewan.

The phenomenon isn't just in Western Canada, says Mike Flannigan, a professor of wildland fire at the University of Alberta. He points out fires around the world this year have been "head and shoulders above the previous record."

"There's been deadly fires and historic fires in Chile, Portugal — twice — and California," Flannigan said in an interview.

"It's been quite a devastating year globally and the California fires will be the most expensive ... (with) tens of billions in losses."

Flannigan said human-caused climate change isn't the root cause of fires, but has made them much worse. Global warming has made conditions more favourable for intense flames.

"With warmer temperatures, the fuels will be drier, and when a fire goes through, there's more fuel to consume," he said.

"It makes it more extreme. Winds are a little stronger, the temperatures are a little higher and it's a little drier."

Flannigan said warmer temperatures also spawn an increase in lightning activity. For every degree the temperature rises, there's a 12 per cent increase in lightning.

Fires have certainly increased in the last several decades, he said.

"The amount of fire activity in Canada, which currently is about 2 1/2 million hectares — about half the size of Nova Scotia — has doubled since the 1970s."

The Insurance Bureau of Canada has been watching weather trends with a wary eye.

"The whole issue of climate change and the severe weather that results from it has been discussed for years ... but really in the last decade we've just seen an explosion in the incidents and the severity of these extreme weather events," said Bill Adams, the Insurance Bureau of Canada's western vice-president.

"It's really a continuation of what we've seen for many years where the traditional weather patterns that we've grown up with ... we can't rely on them any longer."

Adams said disasters in Alberta have accounted for about 70 per cent of all claims paid out in the last eight years. Fires, floods and hail account for most.

"There's no question that Alberta has been the epicentre in the Canadian context of the majority of the severe weather events in the last number of years." 



Snowfall warnings on passes

Multiple snowfall warnings are currently in effect for mountain passes in B.C.

Snowfall between 15 to 20 centimetres is expected on Highway 3 between Hope and Princeton, and on the Coquihalla Highway between Hope and Merritt.

A snowfall warning is also in place for Highway 3 in the Boundary region from the Paulson Summit to the Kootenay Pass, with 15 to 20 cm of snow projected to fall there.

There are unconfirmed reports of three separate single-vehicle incidents near the Paulson Summit on Highway 3, with one potentially involving a semi-truck.

Environment Canada issued all of those warnings at 7:00 p.m.

The snow will turn to rain in all of those areas during overnight hours, but at least 15 cm are expected before that happens, according to Environment Canada. 

Motorists are advised to adjust their driving to the conditions, and to be aware of the difficulty in travelling through areas where snow is heavily falling.

Highway conditions can be viewed at drivebc.ca.



Health Minister visits DTES

A program that helps people in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside is getting a funding boost from the federal government.

An initiative that focuses on gender and trauma-based issues at B.C. Women's Hospital and Health Centre received an increase in support, and the feds have now invested $842,000 into the program.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas-Taylor was in the neighbourhood to make that announcement on Saturday.

Defence Minister and Surrey MP Harjit Sajjan was present as well.

The visit to the downtown eastside was the first for Petitpas-Taylor, who has been in her position since August.

“It’s very important for us as politicians to be out on the ground and to see exactly the reality that people are faced with," Petitpas-Taylor said. "It was very moving, actually."

The federal government spends more than $26M annually on programs to help people deal with addictions, according to Petitpas-Taylor.

- with files from CTV Vancouver



Third rainstorm in a week

The South Coast will be pounded by rain on Saturday night. 

A rainfall warning is in place for the Fraser Valley, Metro Vancouver and for Victoria and the Gulf Islands.

As much as 70 millimetres of rain is expected in some areas while others will see at least 50 mm, according to Environment Canada

A wind warning is also in effect for southern Vancouver Island, where wind gusts of up to 90 kilometres per hour are anticipated.

It's the third time in five days that residents in the South Coast have been bracing for possible flooding and power outages.

Stretches of bad whether like this are not, however, uncommon this time of year, according to Environment Canada.

“We’ve had quite a trifecta of low-pressure systems impacting the South Coast this week,” meteorologist Johnathan Bau said.

“Fortunately this will be the last of the three."

Bau added that dryer weather and some sunshine is expected throughout the region by Monday.

- with files from CTV Vancouver



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