By Michael Potestio, Kamloops This Week.
There have been more than 20 suspicious fires in Kamloops over the past two months, with the latest being ignited downtown on Tuesday, May 16.
A fence and some vegetation went up in flames in the 100-block of West Seymour Street, near Victoria Street West, at about 10:30 p.m.
The fire was knocked down quickly by firefighters. Kamloops RCMP Cpl. Crystal Evelyn told KTW no one was injured in the fire, which is being treated as suspicious.
Asked if police believe the blaze is related to five dumpster blazes downtown the night before or to any other suspicious fires, Evelyn said any connection is part of what is included in the RCMP’s ongoing investigation.
Anyone with information or video related to the fence fire is asked to contact police at 250-828-3000 and reference file number 2023-17156.
On Monday night, beginning at 10:45 p.m. five dumpsters in alleys behind Victoria Street were set ablaze. The next morning, at just before 8 a.m., a grass fire was set in the 700-block of Sydney Avenue in North Kamloops.
“The timing and proximity of multiple dumpster fires [that] night is definitely suspicious and is not believed to be an individual or random event,” Evelyn said.
On May 13, at about 3 a.m., police were called to the 400-block of Laurier Drive in Aberdeen, where Kamloops Fire and Rescue had just extinguished a vehicle fire. Several other vehicles nearby had gasoline poured on them. The fires are believed to be connected to another fire in the 2600-block of Highway 5A in nearby Knutsford, where three vehicles were set ablaze. A house and fence also sustained minor damage.
There were also numerous other suspicious fires around Kamloops in April, with nearly half the days in the month involving blazes reported to local media.
• On April 30, firefighters responded to a pair of fires in North Kamloops alleyways — one between Lethbridge Avenue and Sherbrooke Avenue and the other between 10th and 11th streets. A fence and garbage container were damaged before those fires were extinguished. Owen Lee Coty, 26, was arrested in connection with those arsons and he remains in custody as he awaits a bail hearing set for May 26.
• On April 29, firefighters on the North Shore snuffed out a dumpster blaze at Selkirk Avenue and 13th Street and a small fire in the alley behind the 1100-block of Selkirk Avenue.
• On April 27, a human-caused fire gutted a home in the 300-block of Gleneagles Drive in Upper Sahali. The fire started along a walking path outside the home. Investigators are not sure if the fire was deliberately or accidentally set.
• On April 23, firefighters extinguished a blaze that damaged the rear door of a business in the 900-block of Eighth Street in North Kamloops.
• On April 19, firefighters knocked down a large grassfire on the hillside in the area of Powers Road and Strathcona Terrace. The fire was started by a campfire created by a homeless person(s) and has been labelled criminal in nature by police.
• On April 16, a fire erupted in shrubs off the Eighth Street overpass at Halston Avenue in North Kamloops, near where another campfire site was found.
• On April 12, Kamloops Fire Rescue responded to a suspicious grass fire at the north end of Overlanders Bridge, near Fortune Drive. Thirty minutes later, another fire was found in a fenced compound in the 500-block of Tranquille Road in North Kamloops.
• On April 10, there was a vehicle fire on McGill Road in Sahali.
• On April 7, a rear deck at a downtown business in the 400-block of Victoria Street caught fire. There was also a shopping cart fire in the 1300-block of Columbia Street West downtown.
• On April 6, firefighters doused a brush fire that broke out next to a staircase, downtown at the corner of St. Paul Street and Second Avenue.
• On April 2, former city councillor Denis Walsh said he had to extinguish a planter fire on the deck of his home near the former Stuart Wood elementary downtown.