Quince Chalifoux, the man responsible for the Mission Canadian Tire fire in 2019, will be spending the next few months behind bars.
Chalifoux, 28, was in Abbotsford provincial court on Tuesday afternoon to be sentenced by Judge Jodie Harris.
After credit for time already served, Chalifoux was sentenced to one year and two weeks in prison to be followed by 18 months of probation.
After his arrest in February 2020, he was initially released from custody but has been in prison since early June 2021 after failing to show up for court several times.
The prosecution and defence lawyers put forth a joint recommendation of an 18-month sentence.
The Crown referred to Chalifoux as someone with a criminal history but who has “never before committed an offence approaching this level of significance.”
He also said Chalifoux has had a difficult time complying with court orders in the past and recommended an additional 18-month period of community supervision in connection with a probation officer.
The defence lawyer agreed with the recommendations, adding that Chalifoux presents as an “intelligent, thoughtful, young man” who was severely addicted.
The defence added that his client is a rational person who has learned a painful lesson and recognizes the devastation he caused on that day. He said he wouldn’t see him “as a risk to doing something similar.”
However, he did say the depth of Chalifoux’s addiction has made it a challenge for him to not pose a risk to the public.
Chalifoux was initially charged with “arson in relation to an inhabited property” but pleaded guilty last month to the lesser charge of “arson damaging property.”
The blaze took place at about 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 30, 2019 at the Canadian Tire on London Avenue in Mission.
Staff and customers were able to safely leave the store, and no one was injured.
The store was further damaged at around 2 a.m., when an explosion took place inside the building, setting off approximately 185 sprinklers. The damage was estimated in the millions.
Investigators quickly deemed the fire as suspicious. Charges against Chalifoux were announced in February 2020.
The store was rebuilt and reopened on Aug. 29, 2019, but suffered damage in a second unrelated fire exactly two years after the one involving Chalifoux.
Investigators believe that fire was set to conceal a shoplifting theft.
The suspect in that incident was described as a white heavy-set middle-aged man wearing a black face cloth, baseball cap and black jacket.
– with files from Vikki Hopes