September 14, 2015 - 11:37 AM
VERNON - Police in Vernon are investigating another suspected arson, this time outside the curling club.
RCMP Const. Jocelyn Noseworthy says the fire started in a pile of display panels used for hanging merchandise which were stacked at the rear of the building. The Vernon Fire Department managed to put out the blaze before it spread and damaged anything else.
Like two other recent fires, this one is considered suspicious and police are appealing to the public for tips. Anyone who saw suspicious activity in the area around midnight is asked to contact the detachment. Investigators are reviewing video surveillance footage for possible leads.
Meanwhile, video footage from another fire is generating tips. AJ’s Pets and Things released a video captured by their security camera and since being uploaded over the weekend, it has already been viewed over 58,000 times. Noseworthy says police were in the process of reviewing the video footage when the business decided to release it on their own.
The video shows a man pacing back and forth behind the pet store around the time of the fire, and Noseworthy says he’s considered a person of interest investigators would like to speak with.
“Anyone with information regarding the identity or location of this male is asked to call the Vernon RCMP detachment,” Noseworthy says.
Investigators have spoken with a man who appears later on the pet store surveillance footage and determined he was not involved in setting the fire. On the contrary, he can be seen attempting to put the fire out, and the owners of AJ’s Pets and Things posted online they can’t wait to thank him.
Police do not believe the individual is connected to a pair of people convicted of a May 2014 arson outside AJ’s Pets and Things. And while Noseworthy maintains it’s too early to speculate on whether the pet store fire and the curling club fire are connected, she says investigators do not believe the case is linked to last year’s rash of suspicious fires, which included boat fires, dumpster fires and the destruction of the Kin Race Track grandstands.
“The investigation so far leads us to believe this is not related to the string of arsons from the summer of 2014,” she says.
Police are asking anyone who was in the area at the time of the fires, or who has any information, to contact the detachment at 250-545-7171 or remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015