July 29, 2016 - 2:06 PM
VERNON - The number of suspicious fires in a Vernon neighbourhood continues to grow.
Last night, the BX-Swan Lake Fire Department was called out to what is believed to be the eighth or ninth suspicious blaze in that area of Vernon since April.
Fire chief Bill Wacey says roughly 60 feet of a cedar hedge was found consumed by flames just after 1 a.m., July 29.
The 21 volunteer firefighters who turned out to fight the blaze didn’t have far to go.
“It was right across the street from the fire hall to be blunt,” Wacey says.
A group of teenagers noticed the blaze, alerted the fire department and woke the homeowners, Wacey says.
The rash of suspicious fires includes a burned out camper and a recent blaze on the BX Creek Trail.
“I would be remiss if I said I didn’t think they were connected,” Wacey says. “Whether it’s by coincidence or deliberate, it’s hard to tell. The gut feeling would be it seems highly unusual.”
He says there aren’t any strong commonalities between the fires, except that they are happening at night.
“There usually isn’t much evidence left in regards to anything you can pick apart,” he says.
He stresses that while they’ve been lucky so far, even a small fire could quickly take off and cause a lot of damage.
“It could be an absolute catastrophe if the perfect storm situation arises,” Wacey says.
He’s asking residents to be on alert and report any suspicious activity or signs of fire immediately to the authorities.
“Eventually, somebody will see something,” he says.
To make a police report, contact the Vernon RCMP at 250-545-7171 or remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
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