Nanaimo RCMP is seeking to identify a person of interest after three suspicious fires were set over the past week in the area of Seventh Street.
According to police, the first two fires occurred between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 3 on the grounds of John Barsby Secondary School — two fires that police have now identified a person of interest.
The first fire was reported just after 7 a.m. with fire crews responding to the blaze, located in a garden shed. The shed, located on school grounds, was destroyed as a result of the fire and as police investigated, they learned that an individual was seen in the vicinity of the fire as it was starting to smoulder. This individual was last seen riding a scooter along a footpath that connects to Seventh Street.
Shortly after 10 a.m. on the same day, authorities responded to reports of a second fire under a pedestrian bridge, located on the west side of John Barsby Secondary.
The fire was suspicious in nature as well and, as part of the investigation into this fire, police also learned an individual was spotted walking away from the area. That individual was captured on camera and the picture matches the description of the person of interest from the first fire.
The third fire occurred a week later on April 9 when police learned that a canvas car seat and candle were taken from the front porch of a home in the 700-block of Stirling Ave, then placed on the back porch of a nearby home and set on fire.
Once lit, the seat cover was melted before the fire could spread further. There are no suspects or video evidence of the theft or the fire in this instance. While the third fire cannot be connected to the first two fires, investigators recognized that the location of the fire is approximately a six-minute walk from the other locations.
The person of interest, pictured above, is described as a man with a slim build and long brown hair. He was wearing a blue ski jacket, and track pants with a white stripe and had a scooter with him.
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. Homeowners need to be vigilant and report any suspicious fires or persons to the police, said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.
If anyone has information on any of these fires or the person shown in the attached photo, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.