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Updated: Wed, 02 Apr 2014 16:33:28 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Manhunt on for estranged husband after B.C. house fire, alleged attack on family

A house fire gutted a home in Langley, B.C. in the early hours of Wednesday morning. CBC

A house fire gutted a home in Langley, B.C. in the early hours of Wednesday morning. CBC

A manhunt is on for a suspect in an apparent attempted murder and arson at a house in the Willowbrook area of Langley, B.C., early this morning.

Langley RCMP said the estranged husband of the woman who lived there is being sought after she was attacked and the house she shares with her two children was set on fire.

The suspect, a 44-year-old Langley man, is believed to be driving a 2006 grey Saturn Relay minivan with B.C. licence plate 804 HWC.

The woman and her two children were taken to hospital after escaping the fire that gutted their home in the 19600 block of Wakefield Drive just after 1 a.m. PT.

Police believe the woman's estranged husband broke into the home and set the fire before going into her bedroom and assaulting her with a weapon.

Langley RCMP Cpl. Holly Marks said one of the children was also struck with the same weapon after trying to intervene.

"When the assault was taking place, the 14-year-old daughter came into the room to tell her mother that she could smell smoke, and witnessed the father assaulting her," Marks said.

The mother, daughter and son ran from the house before it became engulfed in flames.

Their injuries are reported to be non-life-threatening.

Marks said police didn't know at first what happened to the assailant and thought he might have died in the fire.

Fire crews did a preliminary search for the man in the burned home, but weren't able to complete a full search until later in the morning when the structure cooled down.

Just after 11:30 a.m., Langley RCMP announced that no body had been found inside the house, and that the man is presumed to have fled.

Marks said the suspect is known to Langley RCMP, and anyone spotting his vehicle should call police.

"We've had previous domestic violence occurrences with this individual and he has previously been charged," she said.

Google map: 19600 Wakefield Dr., Langley

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