Skip to content

RCMP asking for witnesses to downtown Trail fire

Regional fire rescue reports that an alert business owner put out the flames
A fire was lit in a pipe at the front of the former CS Williams Clinic building on Wednesday morning. Police have a suspect but are still investigating. Photo: Trail RCMP

Suspected arson outside the former CS Williams Clinic last week has thrust the rundown building to the forefront of news once again.

In 2017, following four years of legal action related to delinquent property taxes amounting to $9,200, the City of Trail took title of the vacant structure, located on the corner of Cedar Avenue and Helena Street in downtown Trail.

Since then, there hasn’t been any movement on a plan for the property.

Or has there been? Are there considerations on the Trail council table?

For a quick update, the Trail Times emailed this question to city administrator David Perehudoff.

First, Perehudoff clarified that, in accordance with the Community Charter, ownership was transferred to the city due to the fact that property taxes were not paid over a four-year period.

“Council has considered several potential future uses for the property but before any new development is able to proceed, the current structure will have to be removed,” Perehudoff explained.

The current estimate of teardown and remediation exceeds $1.4 million, which would come at a cost to the Trail taxpayer. (Grants are generally given to build infrastructure up, not tear it down.)

“And this level of expense is difficult to fund within the current capital budget funding framework,” Perehudoff noted. “The city remains hopeful that redevelopment will occur in the next few years with a use that appropriately fits in the area.”

As far as the fire, on March 17, just before 11 a.m., Trail RCMP and regional firefighters responded to a report of a suspicious fire outside the former clinic.

The fire was small and isolated to a single PVC rain spout in an alcove at the front of the building.

A fire was lit in a rain spout in the old CS Williams Clinic building. Photo: Trail RCMP
A fire was lit in a rain spout in the old CS Williams Clinic building. Photo: Trail RCMP

An alert business owner extinguished the flames with a few buckets of water by the time a crew from Station 374 Trail arrived.

There was minor damage to the building.

Frontline RCMP officers detained a 33-year-old Trail man who was believed to have started the small fire.

He was released at the scene pending further investigation.

The Trail RCMP is reviewing video security footage from the surrounding area and would like to speak to witnesses who have not yet spoken to investigators.

“Trail RCMP is taking this matter very seriously,” says Sgt. Mike Wicentowich. “If the fire had spread to the rest of the building, it could have threatened the surrounding occupied structures.”

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact police via the Trail detachment non-emergency line at 250.364.2566.

Read more: Kootenay Boundary Fire Rescue called to downtown Trail fire

Read more: City takes ownership of downtown Trail vacant building

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Photo: Trail RCMP

Sheri Regnier

About the Author: Sheri Regnier

Read more