Two more vehicles were set on fire in Prince Rupert last week, bringing the total to five in June.
Prince Rupert RCMP and the Prince Rupert Fire Rescue Department have responded to five separate vehicle fires between June 11 and 19, with four of the five incidents being deemed suspicious in nature.
Most recently, emergency responders were called to two different vehicle fires in the early morning hours of June 19, starting with a fire involving a truck on 11th Avenue East at approximately 3:51 a.m.
“We do not believe that fire is associated with these four fires and is being treated as a separate incident,” said Const. Matt Ericson, spokesperson for the Prince Rupert RCMP.
However, later that morning RCMP and firefighters were called to another blaze at approximately 4:50 a.m. at the Four Winds Apartments on Kootenay Avenue.
“It was another fire that was suspicious in nature and did extensive damage to the underside of the building … the fire department and the RCMP had to evacuate 45 people from the apartment because it did have the potential to run through the building. Fortunately, we were able to do a quick put out and stop it from spreading,” said fire chief Dave McKenzie last week.
“There was extensive smoke damage to the building, but fortunately no injuries,” added Ericson.
“Witnesses at the scene did observe two men running from the area at around the same time the fire was observed. One of these men was not wearing a shirt, but that was the only information this witness was able to provide investigators,” said Ericson.
This comes after two incidents taking place in the early morning of June 11, when two vehicles were set on fire on Seventh Avenue East.
Then on June 14, another vehicle was lit in flames on Chamberlain Avenue, with investigators determining it had been deliberately set.
“At this stage, all four fires are being treated as suspicious,” said Ericson.
“Currently, members of our criminal investigation team have been fully engaged and are actively pursuing leads. However, it is far too early to speculate if these fires were set by the same individual or individuals. However, all four fires bare several similarities.”
Prince Rupert RCMP, the Prince Rupert Fire Rescue Department and the City of Prince Rupert held a press conference on the string of fires on Monday.
Prince Rupert RCMP is asking anyone with information on any of these events to contact the detachment at 250-627-0700 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. RCMP is also asking anyone who may have any video or photographic footage from any of the areas to come forward.