Nanaimo RCMP arrest suspect after multiple fires set Friday morning

Nanaimo RCMP arrest suspect after multiple fires set Friday morning

Nanaimo RCMP have a man in custody following a series of fires that were intentionally set Friday morning.

The fires kept firefighter’s busy in the Bowen Road area until police were able to catch up with a suspect.

Nanaimo Firefighters put out the fourth suspicious fire in the bushes near Buttertubs Drive as police converged on the area.

“This particular incident is a small bush fire about 20 by 20 [feet] in size. It is a pretty damp area, wasn’t going to spread, but it looks like it could be potentially purposely set,” said Cpt. Scott Mitrenga of Nanaimo Fire Rescue.

The first suspicious fire of the morning was reported at 6:12 a.m., on Holly Avenue. Video surveillance shows a man stumbling near it. Firefighters were quickly called to the scene and put it out.

Three and a half hours later and less than 20 blocks away, another was lit near a Bowen Road property by East Wellington. A hydro worker was among those to help put water on it before firefighters arrived.

One hour later and only several blocks away from the last, a third fire was reported in Bowen Park.

Firefighters put it out too, but then less than a half hour later and not far away — a fourth and final fire was reported.

Firefighters say they’re getting more worried about the conditions.

“They’ve been dry for a prolonged period of time especially for May. May is usually one of our wetter months. We had some rain, I think last night or the night before. It really hasn’t done too much,” said Mitrenga.

Later that day, investigators converged on Buttertubs Marsh following reports that a potential suspect was seen walking in the area.

“And he was just screaming obscenities and basically acting like someone who was having an episode. I just thought it was kind of suspicious because I walk up the street and there’s a fire going up the street,” said Danny Gibson who lives nearby.

Police managed to arrest the man, and say he is very well known to them. He’s facing charges related to the final fire while they continue to investigate the others.

The fire department says this is one of a couple of people recently arrested in the city under suspicion of deliberately setting fires.

RELATED: Woman arrested in connection to suspicious fires: Sooke RCMP

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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