Nanaimo RCMP and Nanaimo Fire are working together to try and stop a rash of suspicious fires that have been set in the downtown area.
RCMP says in the past three months, more than 20 suspicious fires have been deliberately set. Many were considered minor, but a fire sparked outside a Cliff Street business on June 4 caused significant damage.
To date, our officers have identified several persons of interest who may be responsible for some of these fires. There are still many fires that remain unsolved and this is troubling, RCMP Constable Gary O’Brien said in a release.
Now police and fire are coordinating their efforts to tackle the issue.
Fire crews are often first on scene and while responsible for fire suppression, RCMP says they will preserve and collect forensic evidence, and help identify potential suspects and witnesses to an incident.
RCMP says in some cases, suspects will check out potential fire targets prior to actually setting them. Homeowners and businesses are advised to be aware of this and report it to police.
“The biggest concern we have is combustible materials stored outside businesses overnight. Most are added to dumpsters that are not secured. These need to be locked and the waste material disposed of or removed from the site daily,” said Chief of Nanaimo Fire and Rescue Tim Doyle.
Nanaimo RCMP says other fire-proofing tips include:
- Ensuring cardboard, pallets, used cooking oil, containers, Styrofoam or packing materials are removed
- Practise good housekeeping rules by cleaning out next to buildings, alcoves and alleyways
- Keep lawns mowed and other landscaping maintained to reduce flammable objects around businesses and residences
Anyone with information on who may be involved in any of these fires is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.