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Councillor’s home target of arson attack

Williams Lake city councillor Surinderpal Rathor surveys the damage to his home following two arson attacks in the early morning hours Saturday. The incidents took place just hours after Rathor’s daughter, heart transplant recipient Roop Parmar, died suddenly. Police are investigating. - Angie Mindus photo
Williams Lake city councillor Surinderpal Rathor surveys the damage to his home following two arson attacks in the early morning hours Saturday. The incidents took place just hours after Rathor’s daughter, heart transplant recipient Roop Parmar, died suddenly. Police are investigating.
— image credit: Angie Mindus photo

Williams Lake city councillor Surinderpal Rathor’s home was the target of two arson attacks early Saturday, mere hours after his only daughter died suddenly Friday night.

In fact, if Rathor and his wife Charanjit hadn’t been in the living room, awake due to their family emergency, the second attack could have proven fatal because a Molotov cocktail pierced the living room window, igniting curtains, carpet, ceiling and furniture.

“I grabbed the burning chairs and took them outside right away,” Rathor said Monday from his Moon Avenue home. “I was worried because the electrical panel was so close to the flames. Being an electrician I knew if an electrical fire started the only thing that could save us would be God.”

The first Molotov cocktail was thrown at the home around 2 a.m.

When RCMP arrived, Rathor had already extinguished a burning rag on the walkway outside the window.

RCMP members investigated the incident and afterwards Rathor and Charanjit went back inside to await the arrival of family from out of town.

The second, more serious attack occurred at 3:30 a.m., and ignited the inside of the home immediately.

Police said they thought it was a deliberate attack.

“Fortunately, on both occasions, the fire was quickly contained and resulted in only minor damage; although the potential for loss of life and home was significant,” the RCMP noted in a press release.

“Witnesses observed someone running west on Moon Avenue from the scene, getting into a dark SUV which then travelled north on Midnight Drive,” police said.

Rathor said he is leaving the matter in the hands of police as he and his family prepare for their daughter’s funeral.

“Under Insp. Warren Brown’s leadership I’m very confident that our detachment will get to the bottom of this, there’s no question in my mind,” Rathor said Tuesday.

The incident has left Rathor wondering, however, what he could have possibly done to incite such a violent act.

“In the 39 years I’ve lived here I’ve tried to be good to everyone,” Rathor said.

“I would like to meet with this person to ask them what have I done wrong to hurt them so much, so that I don’t repeat it to others.”

Rathor added the outpouring of support he and his family have received from the community has been overwhelming.

“I can’t thank the community enough,” he said.

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