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Arsonist torches trees, self at Okanagan College

Four cedar trees were set on fire at Okanagan College early Friday morning.
February 17, 2014 - 9:33 AM

KELOWNA – A man has been taken to hospital with serious burns after he was found by police near four cedar trees that were on fire Friday morning.

Fire crews were called to the college at around 1 a.m. after a member of the RCMP spotted visible flames coming from the trees that stand just west of the Trades facility.

Const. Kris Clark says the trees appear to have been deliberately set ablaze but could not confirm if an accelerant was used.

“It appears to be human-caused and intentionally set but that’s still under investigation,” Clark says.

Police say the 40-year-old man who was arrested received serious burns to his left leg. He was taken to hospital in Kelowna then transferred to Vancouver for treatment the following day.

“We have a possible suspect in custody who is being treated for severe burn injuries,” says Clark. “He was probably under the influence of something.”

The Pyramid cedars are approximately 12 feet tall and more than 40 years old. They line the fence of the lot used to store cars for mechanics students to practice on. One practice vehicle was damaged by the heat.

Classroom assistant Kevin Waite says the RCMP were still on scene at 9 a.m. Friday when he arrived at work and that so far, no other damage has been found.

The man faces possible charges of arson to property. A court-compelling document will be requested upon charge approval.

The investigation is ongoing.

This story was updated Feb. 17 to include new information from RCMP.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at, call (250) 718-0428 or tweet @AdamProskiw.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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