A detached garage near Grand Forks’ James Donaldson Park burned to the ground under highly suspicious circumstances over the Thanksgiving weekend, according to the city fire department.
Stephane Dionne, Dep. Chief at Grand Forks Fire/Rescue (GFFR), said volunteer firefighters were called to two fires at 7541 Donaldson Dr, starting Sunday, Oct. 10. Both fires started on the garage’s exterior, near the alleyway between Donaldson Drive and 20th Street.
“This one was really suspicious,” Dionne told The Gazette, noting that the fires happened at the same address, in a short time frame and under similar circumstances.
Sunday’s fire broke out at around 1:15 a.m., causing “minimal damage” to the building’s vinyl siding. The homeowner had managed to knock down the flames with a garden hose by the time GFFR arrived.
Dionne said the department was called back to the scene shortly after midnight Monday, Oct. 11, after Dionne said an undetermined accelerant was poured near the origin of the previous fire and then set alight.
“The garage was a total loss,” he said, adding that the flames melted vinyl siding on the main residence and a small shed on the other side of the alley. The flames also melted the home’s gas metre, which had to be shut down by FortisBC, as well as an overhanging power line shut down by a city hydro crew.
No one was hurt in either fire, Dionne said, adding that his investigation yielded no suspects.
Grand Forks RCMP have reviewed Dionne’s findings but won’t be mounting a separate investigation, pending more information, according to Sgt. Darryl Peppler.
Anyone who thinks they may have relevant information about either of last weekend’s fires is asked to call the detachment’s non-emergency line at 250-442-8288 or phone BC Crime Stoppers’ 24/7 anonymous tip line at 1-800-222-8477.