iN VIDEO: Man sets fire outside Kamloops business and then walks away | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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iN VIDEO: Man sets fire outside Kamloops business and then walks away

A man was seen slowly fleeing the fire that took out the cedar hedges at a Valleyview business last week. It was one of five suspicious fires in one weekend.

A Kamloops business owner is lucky only trees were damaged after a man spent hours on the Valleyview property before walking away from a fire.

Whether it was set intentionally isn't clear, but the fire at Valleyview Napa Autopro was one of five suspicious fires in two days that caught police attention.

Owner Henry Purdey said it was the latest incident after break-ins and thefts at the business in recent months.

The cedar hedges had been used as a camp spot in the past often by the same man, he said. He would often leave when told to do so in the morning.

Whether it's the same man who started the fire isn't clear, but surveillance footage shows a man shake a tree around 1:30 a.m. as it quickly becomes engulfed in flames. He then walks away, turning back once to look at the fire as it grew.

Shop employee Chris Rioux provided the surveillance footage to after offering it to Kamloops RCMP. The investigating officer didn't call back nor stop by to review the footage, he said.

"They don't seem interested," Rioux said as he offered copies of the surveillance footage.

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The early morning March 30 fire didn't damage the building, but it was one of several across the city that weekend. How they are related, if at all, isn't clear.

Surveillance footage shows the man entering the shrubs at Napa several hours before the fire started. Firefighters made quick work of the hedge fire, but they were called to another fire at the Tournament Inn around 2 a.m., just after the Napa fire. That one "appeared to be intentional," Kamloops RCMP said.

That fire was set just outside an electrical room at the motel office building. Firefighters snuffed it quickly, based on what appears to be a small amount of cosmetic damage to the building.

The fire at the Tournament Inn appeared to be intentional, police said.
The fire at the Tournament Inn appeared to be intentional, police said.

Across the city in Brocklehurst, a house and an SUV were set ablaze by a Molotov cocktail just an hour earlier, RCMP said.

A neighbour's surveillance cameras caught two men exit a truck and toss a container of fuel at the townhouse on the 800 block of Valhalla Drive, which burned the outside of the house and the driver's side of a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

A man inside the house doused the fire with a garden hose before firefighters got to the scene, according to resident Lori Agar.

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The same house was the scene of a shooting that killed 39-year-old Chaneill Satow.

Agar said the fire was entirely unrelated to Satow's death and the culprits who lit her house ablaze were mistaken, choosing the wrong house.

But the man who doused the fire, whom Agar referred to as "Whiskey," said it was targeted.

"It's got nothing to do with anyone here and more to do with the people pissed off that they don't get to come here, and yeah it was targeted," he said before Agar cut him off.

Agar said she rarely leaves her house, if ever, because she is traumatized by her friend's shooting inside the home in May 2023.

She wouldn't comment on the shooting, but said police have kept her house under consistent surveillance since then.

At 6:55 a.m., police and firefighters were called to another fire, this one in the Tk'emlups industrial park. A building on the 400 block of Chilcotin Road was damaged by the fire and three vehicles were vandalized, police said.

The St. Paul Street house is empty and guarded by security after it was damaged by arson.
The St. Paul Street house is empty and guarded by security after it was damaged by arson.

The last one was downtown on April 1, around 1:20 p.m. An older house on the 400 block of St. Paul Street is now taped off and monitored by security. No one was injured, but all the residents have been put up in hotels, according to an unnamed woman who frequented the house.

The residents were associated with the drug trade and she said someone set the fire under the front deck.

There are surveillance cameras on multiple corners of the house and some caught a man walking through the front gate carrying a jerry can. The jerry can is still beside the house.

The fires followed suspected arsons earlier in the month with one on Brunner Avenue and another on Spruce Avenue on March 28.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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