More suspicious fires: police and fire investigating

Kamloops City

2023-05-16 12:53 PDT

File # 2023-17004

Five fires on the south shore last night and another on the north shore this morning are being treated as suspicious by Kamloops police and firefighters.

Last night, May 15, 2023, around 10:45 p.m., Kamloops Fire Rescue attended the alleyway behind the 400-block of Lansdowne Street for the first fire, which appeared to be deliberately set in a garbage dumpster. An hour later, four more were reported and extinguished in alleyways behind Victoria Street.

This morning, May 16, around 7:50 a.m., Kamloops RCMP frontline officers were called to the 700-block of Sydney Avenue to assist with a man lighting grass on fire. He fled prior to police attendance and was described as Caucasian, approximately 5’8, in a white muscle shirt and white pants.

At this time, it’s unknown if last night’s fires are connected to any other recent ones in the city.

The timing and proximity of multiple dumpster fires last night is definitely suspicious and is not believed to be an individual or random event, said Corporal Crystal Evelyn, Kamloops RCMP spokesperson. Along with our frontline officers, the General Investigations Support Team is also assisting fire investigators in attempting to identify a suspect and address this very serious safety concern.

One of the fires set in the alley last night was extremely close to spreading to a building, which could have caused serious property damage and created safety risks to those in the area, said Scott Karpiak, KFR Duty Chief.

We always encourage businesses to lock their dumpsters and to move them away from their building as much as they possibly can, said Mr. Karpiak. We realize space is at a premium, but believe that creating some distance between a dumpster and a building can be effective in helping to prevent fire spread through radiant heat or direct flame impingement.

Police and fire officials continue their appeal to the public for witnesses and video that could help identify a suspect in these ongoing investigations.

If you haven’t already, please take a look at any security footage you may have to see if it captured anything that could be of assistance, added Cpl. Evelyn.

From a preventive standpoint, she encouraged residents to report suspicious vehicles or occurrences to police. If someone is not sure if something is suspicious, they can always take notes that capture descriptions, license plants, and dates and times, so that the information is readably available if something happens.

Anyone with information is asked to please contact the Kamloops RCMP Detachment at 250-828-3000. Those seeking more information on fire safety can contact KFR at 250-372-5131.

Released by:

Cpl. Crystal Evelyn
Media Relations Officer
Kamloops RCMP
560 Battle Street, Kamloops, BC V2C 6N4
Office: 250-828-3193
Fax: 250-828-3034


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