An anti-Olympics anarchist group is claiming responsibility for starting a fire at a Royal Bank of Canada branch in the Glebe early yesterday morning.
A video clip posted on an independent media website shows two men exiting the branch on the corner of Bank Street and First Avenue just as a fire ball explodes in the front automated banking machine area of the building.
Text accompanying the video lists a number of complaints about the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, including indigenous land claims, the treatment of the poor in Vancouver and urban development. RBC was a significant sponsor of the games, it says, explaining why it was targeted.
“The games in Vancouver are now over, but resistance continues,” the letter states. “An RBC branch can be found in every corner of Kanada (sic).”
The text also questions RBC’s environmental record and threatens to “be there” during the upcoming G8 and G20 summit meetings scheduled for Toronto and Muskoka.
The fire marshal and arson investigators are expected to comb through the wreckage this morning. The branch is expected to be closed for at least one week.
According to a police report, witnesses saw three or four males running from the RBC branch at 745 Bank St.
They got into an SUV shortly before the fire broke out in the ATM area of the bank at around 3:30 a.m.
Thirty-eight firefighters responded to the fire and had it under control within half an hour.
While the fire was contained to the entrance area, there was smoke and heat damage throughout building.
The initial damage estimate is set at around $300,000. None of the neighbouring businesses were affected.
This is the fourth major fire in the Glebe.