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UPDATE: Arson arrest made in suspicious explosive Vernon fire

Glass and debris strewn across road, no one was home in any of the three units

Arson is being investigated after a suspicious fire broke out at a Harwood area townhome July 18.

A 41-year-old man was arrested Tuesday, July 19 in connection to a fire in the triplex shortly before 11 p.m. Monday.

Vernon Fire Rescue Services firefighters confirmed heavy smoke and fire was coming from the middle unit of the two-story townhouse in the 4200 block of 20th Street. No one was injured as all units were empty when crews arrived.

“The crews successfully contained the fire to the single unit and knocked the fire down quickly, preventing it from spreading to the adjacent units,” said fire chief David Lind. “There is substantial fire and smoke damage to the townhouse.”

Emergency responders received a report of a possible explosion during the incident and a front window was shattered on the townhouse. No one was inside any of the three units when fire crews arrived and no injuries were reported.

Kai Smith was walking home from a friend’s house on 20th Street when she said a motorcyclist was nearly blasted with debris from the explosion.

“I heard this big boom and a bunch of stuff came out onto the road. It was right behind me.”

Glass was strewn across the road, along with debris.

“It looks like the top of a couch,” said another witness, who was first on scene and said she knocked on all doors in the unit but no one came out.

The fire has been deemed suspicious and the file has been handed over to the RCMP for investigation. The suspect arrested remains in police custody pending a future court appearance.

“The cause of the fire, believed to be suspicious, has not been determined at this time,” said Const. Chris Terleski, media relations officer for the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP. “Police have secured the location to allow for a full scene examination and the collection of any physical evidence to support the ongoing investigation.”

Anyone with information about this fire or who may have witnessed any suspicious activity in the area at the time, and has not already spoken to police, is asked to call 250-545-7171 and quote police file 2022-12330.

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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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