A closer look at Vernon's rash of arsons

Police and the Fire Department are investigating a rash of suspected arsons, including this dumpster fire outside Shoppers Drug Mart on May 4.
Image Credit: Vernon Fire and Rescue Services


VERNON - While investigators continue to hunt for clues in a continuing series of suspected arsons, a map shows most were set within four kilometers of each other between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The suspicious fires — set in dumpster bins, pallets, vacant homes and vehicles — have been plaguing police and the fire department since early May.

RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk says investigators are combing through video surveillance looking for people of interest.

“We’re hoping for a break,” Molendyk says. “We have gone to the point of looking at expertise from outside our department, also officers are being redeployed to when fires have happened in the past (and) Citizens on Patrol are being more vigilant in other areas.”

A crime analyst has been tasked with investigating the times and locations of the fires to see if there are any patterns. Some of the fires have been solved and ruled out of the series of suspected arsons. 

Molendyk asks anyone who has witnessed the fires, or suspicious activity around them, to contact police or the fire department.

“We are concerned that sooner or later we are going to have major loss of property, or further that, injury or loss of life,” he says.

Residents and businesses are being encouraged to clean up pallets and not put recycling out early to minimize targets for the alleged arsonist. 

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.

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