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Pair of suspicious fires ignite concerns

The Fire Department responded to a suspicious dumpster fire outside Shoppers Drug Mart on 27 Street Saturday night.
Image Credit: Vernon Fire and Rescue Services
May 06, 2014 - 4:49 PM

VERNON - A pair of suspicious fires have police and the fire department looking for answers.

The Vernon Fire Department responded to back to back dumpster fires Saturday night. The first was in a large construction dumpster on Kalamalka Road around 11:30 p.m., and the second at 44 Avenue and 27 Street by Shoppers Drug Mart about 12:50 a.m.

“It’s suspicious that we have two fires in dumpsters within an hour of each other,” RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk says.

There was a series of unsolved arsons last summer, and Molendyk says all of them, including this past weekend’s, could be connected.

“There’s a possibility, and we have not ruled it out. Can we say for sure? No,” Molendyk says.

Police are hoping to find video surveillance in the area and are encouraging witnesses to come forward to police.

“These individuals that do this are getting their thrills (but) this isn’t a fun little ‘haha’ event. It’s not a laughing matter — you’re endangering people’s lives,” Molendyk says.

So far, none of the fires have caused injuries or property damage, but it could be different next time.

“Fire is nothing to play with. The next one may get away; we don’t want to lose property or life,” Molendyk says.

Even though they are somewhat contained, dumpster fires have the potential to get out of control, send sparks onto nearby buildings, or pick up in the wind. Deputy fire chief Jack Blair says they pose a big risk to firefighters.

“Bin fires can be very dangerous to firefighters because we don’t know what is in there,” he says, adding there’s risk of explosion if aerosols, paints or batteries are inside.

Molendyk also points out how unfortunate it would be if firefighters were battling an intentionally lit fire while needed somewhere else.

Anyone with information about the dumpster fires is asked to contact the Vernon RCMP detachment at 250-545-7171 or remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infotelnews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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