Update: Two fires in Laval cell phone towers now under investigation

Following a suspicious fire at a cell phone tower in Chomedey last week, Laval firefighters and crime investigators from the Laval Police Department were on the scene a few days later at a second suspicious cell phone blaze in Laval. This time it was on Lindbergh St. in an industrial section of Fabreville on May 5.

Investigators were on the scene during the early afternoon of May 1 at a cell tower behind the Plaza Laval Élysée shopping mall on Samson Blvd. in Chomedey, where a fire the previous night badly damaged a 28-meter tower owned by Rogers Communications, but also used by Telus.

This cell phone tower behind the Plaza Laval Élysée shopping mall on Samson Blvd. was badly damaged by fire during the early morning hours of May 1.

According to initial news reports, the police were investigating the possibility the fire was a deliberate criminal act. The tower’s antennae and transmit/receive components were at first said to be state-of-the-art 5G, a new wireless technology in the midst of being implemented across Canada and the U.S.

Rogers later clarified to media that the tower is in fact a 3G or 4G, which are earlier cell phone technologies. Families from several nearby homes had to be evacuated temporarily because of concerns the fire could spread.

At 2:13 am on May 1, the Laval Fire Department tweeted that they estimated damage to the structure and its components at around $1 million, while adding that they had entrusted the investigation to the Laval Police in accordance with standard protocol.

In recent years there have been vandalism incidents in some parts of the world involving vandalism to 5G cell phone towers, as well as controversy over the Chinese government’s high-pressure campaign to have its 5G system made by Huawei installed in western countries. In some incidents, it is believed, vandals mistook 3G and 4G towers for 5G.

On Tuesday this week, around 20 Laval firefighters responded to reports of a fire at the Lindbergh Street cell tower at just after 4 am. Although the fire department maintained it was relatively easy to put out, they were estimating about $250,000 worth of damage. These cell phone tower fires in Laval are in addition to two similar incidents reported to have taken place in two Laurentian towns last weekend.

Martin C. Barry, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for the Laval News, marty@newsfirst.ca