Vernon RCMP, fire officials hoping for break in suspicious fires

Groups looking for any kind of lead as they deal with 17th suspicious fire over last month

Vernon RCMP and Vernon Fire Rescue Services officers would like to catch a break.

The two groups are dealing with the 17th suspicious fire in the past month or so.

Just after midnight Monday, officers from the Vernon RCMP detachment responded to a call from the fire department of a fire in the Chapman Construction compound in the 4400 block of 25th Avenue.

“Fire crews were able to extinguish the fire from the fence without entering the compound,” said Vernon RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk.

A small wooden structure had been set on fire.

A police dog unit was called out but was not able to locate anyone that may have left the area.

Police did make an arrest in connection with one of the suspicious fires. Other than that, police and fire crews have no idea who is behind the arsons.

“The only commonality is time,” said Molendyk, a reference to the fact that the fires seem to be set between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.

“It’s a frustrating file. The fires are spread all around the community. Different things are being lit on fire, things from dumpsters to pallets to boats to vehicles. “It’s very concerning to us. We have no idea if it’s an individual or a group of individuals. We’d like to get a break to put a stop to it.”

Molendyk said the Vernon detachment has received “a little bit of response” after releasing a photo of a person of interest captured from a surveillance video at the Vernon Courthouse following a report of garbage being lit on fire beneath a sheriff’s car Thursday night.

“We’re still hoping to determine who that person is and would like to speak to them,” said Molendyk. “It appears they were in the area prior to the fire and maybe saw something or knows something.”