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Two suspicious fires under investigation in Vernon

Vernon firefighters responded to a call Sunday, Sept. 6, about smoke coming from AJ’s Pets and Things at 3219 31 Ave.
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September 08, 2015 - 11:41 AM

VERNON - Police are taking two separate suspicious fires in Vernon very seriously.

At this point, investigators can’t say if the pair of fires are connected, but RCMP Const. Jocelyn Noseworthy says these types of cases ‘take a very high priority’ at the detachment, particularly in light of a string of high profile unsolved arsons from the summer of 2014.

The first fire was Sunday, Sept. 6, outside AJ’s Pets and Things on 31 Avenue in downtown Vernon. Police and the Vernon Fire Department were called to the fire about 6:20 a.m. where they found a stack of burning materials leaned up against the building. Investigators are actively investigating the incident, and hoping to pull useful information off nearby video surveillance systems.

It’s not the first suspicious fire in that location. In May 2014, a pile of paper and pallets was set on fire behind the building. An ensuing police investigation led to the arrests of two people, and Noseworthy says there’s no reason to believe the previous fire is in any way connected to the most recent one. She says suspicious fires are fairly common in that particular area because there aren’t many residences and suspects can move around without being seen.

“Businesses should probably keep in mind it’s a good idea not to leave anything next to your business that can easily be set ablaze,” Noseworthy says.

Authorities responded to a second suspicious fire about 2:30 a.m. Monday, Sept. 8, involving a burnt out utility trailer in the 2300-block of 33 Street. The trailer, which was parked on the side of the road in a residential area, was extensively damaged.

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.

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

— This story was updated at 1:12 p.m. Sept. 8, 2015 to say the AJ's Pets and Things fire was reported around 6:20 a.m. Sept. 6. 

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
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