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More charges against accused in Langara arson; damage at college in six figures

The 23-year-old student accused of arson in connection to the fires at Langara College Monday has been charged with assault and robbery for separate incidents. Isabelle Raghem reports.

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The 23-year-old student accused of arson in connection to the fires at Langara College this week now has more charges against him.

The Crown has added charges of assault and robbery against Nasradin Abdusamad Ali. He was already charged with arson and possession of incendiary material.

The suspicious fires at Langara College on Monday prompted an evacuation of the school.

Ali was arrested in Surrey shortly after officers found a number of “improvised incendiary devices.” Police believe at least two devices were detonated, causing the fires.

The latest charges against Ali are in connection with incidents in March.

Ali is accused of getting into a fight with another Langara student on campus on March 7. Police say the incident wasn’t reported to them until this week.

Ali is also accused of robbing another student near a bus stop on E. 53rd Ave. and Fleming St. The VPD says this incident was reported to police the day it happened.

Langara’s campus remained closed on Tuesday and re-opened on Wednesday.

Damage in the six figures

Crews are desperately trying to repair the T Building at the main Langara College campus following this week’s arson. The damage is said to cost at least six figures.

Vancouver Fire Captain Jonathan Gormick says things could have been much worse, if it wasn’t for the sprinkler system kicking in on Monday.

He doesn’t have an exact figure for the damage, but says it is “significant.”

“A portion of that from the incendiary devices and the fire, but a large portion as well is from the water damage by the sprinklers being activated,” Gormick said.

RELATED: Man arrested after ‘incendiary devices’ found at Langara College

He says the incendiary devices were found on multiple floors of the building, the sprinklers kicked in on each of those floors.

“The good thing about sprinklers is they put out fires quickly and tend to save the structure. The bad thing is an activation flows enough water that it can affect multiple floors as it flows through drains and areas in the structure, and enters the walls.”

But Gormick tells us the structure is sound.

“I think this had the potential to become fairly large. It was really the quick activation of the sprinklers and the quick action of the first-on-scene fire crews that limited the damage to what it is.”

The first day of summer classes is May 6 and the school says if repairs stay on track, everything should be back to normal by then.

Despite charges laid in the case, police continue to ask for anyone with information to come forward.

 – With files from Ash Kelly, Estefania Duran, Kurtis Doering

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