Police blocked off 40th Avenue on Jan. 10, 2015 while firefighters battled a meth lab blaze. The fire has led to a lawsuit against Langley Township. (Langley Advance Times files)

Police blocked off 40th Avenue on Jan. 10, 2015 while firefighters battled a meth lab blaze. The fire has led to a lawsuit against Langley Township. (Langley Advance Times files)

Bill for meth lab fire leads to lawsuit against Langley Township

Local farmers say they shouldn’t have to pay costs of putting out fire in rental house

Two former Langley farmers are suing the Township over a bill for firefighting in a case that involves a meth lab and vanishing tenants.

In late March, lawyers for the Township asked a judge in Chilliwack Supreme Court to dismiss a lawsuit for $33,376 plus damages that was launched in 2018 by Amarjit and Gurminder Gill.

The case goes back to an early morning fire on Jan. 10, 2015, in a rented house in the 22900 block of 40th Avenue on what was then the couple’s Langley farm property,.

When Township firefighters arrived at 4 a.m., they discovered what appeared to be a methamphetamine lab in the house.

Police brought in their clandestine lab specialists, and a hazardous goods removal company was contracted to deal with the toxic remnants once the fire was out. Toluene and “white powder” was discovered there, according to the Township.

READ MORE: Langley house fire uncovers meth lab

The Gills’ house was at the back of the property. In documents filed with the court, the Gills said they had rented out the house “only days before” the fire and do not know the names of the tenants.

Police said that the tenants had been away when the fire broke out; they never returned and were never identified or arrested.

However, the Township then charged the Gills the cost of fighting the fire, sending them the bill for more than $33,000 on Jan. 23.

Under Township bylaws, the Township can charge property owners if fire crews are sent out “in connection with the commission of an indictable offence under the Criminal Code of Canada.”

When the Gills objected to the bill, the Township added the cost to their property taxes. The Gills paid up.

In 2018, they sued the Township, saying that they had no knowledge of illegal activity in their rental house.

They also argued that there was no formula or calculation given to them to show how the Township arrived at the figure of more than $33,000 for the bill for the fire.

The wanted their money back, with interest.

In March, the Township asked a judge to throw out the case.

The Township’s lawyers are arguing that the Gills failed to file their lawsuit in time – they should have filed a claim within six months of being sent the invoice for $33,000.

On April 14, lawyers for the Gills fired back, filing documents saying that the lawsuit couldn’t have started until the money was paid, via property taxes, which happened in May 2017. The lawsuit was filed in 2018, and the Gills say there is a two-year limitation period, not six months.

A judge will rule on the Township’s application later this month.


Have a story tip? Email: matthew.claxton@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CourtFarmingfireLangley Township

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (bottom right) and Minister of Employment Carla Qualtrough (upper left) spoke to senior staff of the Langley Community Services Society on Friday, May 7 about mental health issues. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)
PM makes virtual visit to Langley social service agency

The discussion with staff of Langley Community Services Society centred on mental health

Melissa Vandergenderen, Sandeep Chahal, Niole Garfias and Sheela Veloo had fun attracting passersby to the hot dog sale downtown Friday, May 7, 2021. The event raised funds for the Langley Seniors Resource Society Adult Day Program. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
Langley program fires up the grill Friday for hot dog sale

Adult Day Program helps seniors and people with disabilities to remain more independent

Three vehicles were involved in a crash on the afternoon of Friday, May 7, 2021, at the intersection of Fraser Highway and 208th Street. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
Three-vehicle Langley intersection crash leaves car on its side

There were no serious injuries resulting from a Friday afternoon crash on a major City roadway

Squamish’s Niki Hurst and Christen Young took part in this year’s Furry Tails virtual race, a fundraiser for LAPS. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Friends take Langley animal shelter run to Squamish trails

Animal welfare group’s annual run goes virtual, raises $7,500-plus

Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
LETTER: Constituent sides with Langley MP in conversion therapy controversy

MP’s words were taken out of context, says local letter writer

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Hundreds gathered for a candlelight vigil Friday evening (May 7) to remember 29-year-old corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, who was killed in last weekend’s brazen daylight shooting outside North Delta’s Scottsdale Centre mall. (James Smith photo)
Hundreds gather to remember victim of North Delta shooting

Corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, 29, was killed in what police say was a targeted incident

Flags flown at half mast out front of Fraser Regional Correctional Centre for slain corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa. (Neil Corbett/ The News)
Public vigil and flying flags at half mast done to honour slain prison guard

Maple Ridge corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, 29, is being remembered in a number of ways

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Mandeep Grewal was gunned down outside an Abbotsford bank in October 2018. Police said a violent gang war to control drug-line territory was going on at that time. Drug charges have now been announced against seven people. (FILE PHOTO: John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
7 people face 38 charges related to gang drug activity in Abbotsford and Mission

Police say investigation began in 2018 into expansion of Brothers Keepers’ drug line

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Most Read