Fire watcher

Strathcona is a working class neighbourhood in Vancouver. Bordering China Town, it has always been an ethnically diverse area and is home to a vibrant art community. Containing much of the city’s historical building stock it is a popular location for Hollywood film productions. The recent inflation of property values and rapid gentrification have reinforced the economic disparity of the area leading to severe political tensions. The home I was living in at the time, on Keefer St., was among the sites targeted by these attacks. In view of the conflicts between the various interest groups in the area, speculations ran wild as to the suspect’s motivations.

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These events inspired the project Fire Watcher. Self-sufficient and living off of scavenged materials, the firewatcher observes the situation as a vigilant protector. Through the eyes of this ambiguous figure the territorial feuds between property owners, residents, politicians and transients become the desperate clashes of warring survivalist factions.

Your home security and arson attempts

Please read the following e-mail written by a Blockwatch member in Strathcona. It could happen to you…

I wanted to give you and update for the Strathcona Blockwatch, I am not sure if I give you this information or someone else, if I need to forward this to someone else, please let me know. Very early this morning (Nov. 10, 2006) someone came into our yard and took our yellow recycling bags and the paper contents, as well as any flammable items from our blue bin and put a small fire under the stairs that lead up to our house. The fire was set right next to the house and only a few feet from the barbeque tank. There is minimal damage to the home, nothing structural and luckily no one was hurt. The fire inspector has taken photos and deemed this arson. People in the area should not leave any flammable recyclables outside while this person is still around.

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