Nanaimo RCMP investigate three suspicious fires in one week

Photo of a person of interest related to the April 3 suspicious fires. || RCMP photo
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Police have identified a person of interest related to two of three recent suspicious fires set in the Seventh Street area of Nanaimo.

The first two incidents occurred between 7 a.m and 10 a.m. on April 3 on the John Barsby Secondary School grounds, according to an RCMP media release. 

Fire crews responded to a garden shed fire just after 7 a.m — the blaze destroyed the shed, which was on the school grounds. 

While police were at the scene, they learned an individual was seen in area when the fire was just beginning to smoulder. RCMP were given the description of a person who was last seen riding a scooter along a foot path that connects to Seventh Street.

The person of interest is described as a White male, slim build with long brown hair and wearing a blue ski jacket and track pants with a white stripe along the side. He had a white scooter with him, according to RCMP.

Just a few hours later, around 10 a.m., emergency crews were called to another fire under a pedestrian bridge west of the same school — only metres from the burned shed, according to police.

Fire investigators determined the incident was suspicious because wood appeared to have been bundled and then set on fire, according to the release.

Fire crews told police they were able to take a picture of a person walking away from the area of the incident. The photo matched the description of a person spotted near the first fire.

A third suspicious fire happened some time overnight on April 9 in the 700 block of Stirling Avenue. A canvas carseat and candle were taken from the front porch of a home and placed on the back porch of a nearby home. The seat cover was set on fire, but melted before the fire could spread, according to RCMP.

There are no suspects or video evidence of the theft or fire. Police said although the third fire cannot be connected to the first two, it happened just a six-minute walk away.

“All three of these fires are troubling because it appears that they were all intentionally set and occurred within a short distance of each other. Home owners need to be vigilant and report any suspicious fires or persons to the police,” said Const. Gary O’Brien.

Anyone with information on these fires or the person of interest can call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345. 

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