Suspicious fire investigated

Police and Vernon Fire Rescue Services were called to the rear of Aj’s Pets and Things on 31st Avenue

For the second time in a year, a Vernon pet store was the victim of a fire, and police believe the incident is suspicious in nature.

Police and Vernon Fire Rescue Services were called to the rear of Aj’s Pets and Things on 31st Avenue downtown for a report of a fire at 6:20 a.m. Sunday.

“The fire was located in items stacked at the rear of the building and quickly put out,” said Vernon RCMP Const. Jocelyn Noseworthy.

A woman associated with the store said the fire was started against the back door of the building using recycling items.

Smoke got inside the building, upsetting some of the store cats.

A year ago, a fire broke out at the rear of the pet store. Two people were arrested and charged in connection with that incident.

Noseworthy said Sunday’s fire is still under investigation but there is no reason to believe both fires are connected.

“It’s not uncommon to have fires in these areas just because there is a very limited amount of residential locations nearby, and, at night time, it’s easy to move around without being noticed,” she said.

“It’s a better idea for all businesses not to leave anything against their buildings that can easily be set ablaze.”

RCMP are in the process of collecting video from surveillance cameras set up around the area in the hope of catching the culprit or culprits responsible.