Early Saturday morning, Joanna Zycki woke to find her minivan engulfed in flames.
Zycki, her partner Jeff and their seven-month-old baby found shelter at a neighbour’s while the fire department put out the blaze.
The heat from the fire was so intense it melted their garbage cans and warped the siding of the house.
The fire department estimates the damage to the building to be about $10,000.
The van is a complete writeoff.
A few days later, arsonists struck again.
Tuesday morning at 3:30 a.m. – the same time as Saturday’s fire – another car was set ablaze in the same Riverdale neighbourhood.
This time, the owners of the house weren’t home.
Neighbours said the family is out of town, and may not know what happened yet.
The gutted car sits in the driveway surrounded by police tape.
This is just the latest in a series of recent, suspicious fires in Whitehorse.
“We seem to have had a rash of them over the last little while and it is a concern to us,” said Whitehorse fire Chief Clive Sparks.
Last week, several campfire-type fires were set around town.
A few days later, six portable toilets in Rotary Peace Park were burned to the ground.
And now two cars in Riverdale have been set on fire.
“We believe they were deliberately set,” said Sparks. “Whether or not they were related, I don’t know.
“The RCMP is investigating them.”
This random violence has been traumatic, said Zycki.
“Going to sleep for the last couple nights was awful, every sound we heard got us up,” said Zycki. “I’m curious to find out, is it just kids or is it an actual arsonist?
“I understand that sometime kids are bored and vandalism is sometimes a part of growing up, but this is just so dangerous.
“A lot of these homes have propane tanks in the back, not to mention that when it gets close to a house it could burn a house down with people in it.”
A few items were also stolen from their yard that night, but were mysteriously returned a few days later.
“We found them hung on the mail box, which was really odd,” she said.
Zycki and her family have only been in Whitehorse about half a year, and while this experience has shaken them up it hasn’t soured them on the community.
“Our neighbours have been super nice and very supportive,” she said. “I know it’s a random act of violence because we haven’t gotten to know a lot of people, let alone make enemies, but you still … you kind of feel targeted.”
They’re now talking to their landlord about removing the fence and adding lights to the driveway as a precaution and they hope to find another car before the insurance company stops paying for a rental on Monday.
Contact Josh Kerr at