RCMP probe series of downtown Vernon fires

Brush, garbage, hedge fires appear similar, but too soon to tell: Mounties

A brush fire close to the Chevron station on 32nd Street Saturday at 4:30 a.m. was one of four fires in 12 hours dealt with successfully by Vernon Fire Rescue Services. (@vernonfirefighters photo)

A series of fires in the downtown core kept Vernon firefighters busy over the weekend, but RCMP said while similar in nature, it’s too soon to determine if they’re linked.

Between Friday and Monday (July 16-19), Vernon North Okanagan RCMP assisted Vernon Fire Rescue Services (VFRS) with a series of small brush, hedge, grass and garbage fires in and around the downtown area.

The first call came on Friday, July 16, at 11 p.m. about a brush fire in the area of the Vernon Square Mall.

Multiple calls about a brush fire in the same general area came 12 hours later, with RCMP attending the Saturday morning blaze.

“Officials at the scene said evidence of a homeless camp was found in the trees and the suspect the latest incident was a campfire that got out of hand,” wrote VFRS on its Instagram page.

Then, a hedge fire at 4:30 a.m. Saturday, July 17, had crews scrambling to the Chevron station at 32nd Street.

VFRS thanked the public for their vigilance.

“This has been a busy weekend of fire response for our crews with a number of calls last night and today,” VFRS said. “Thank you to everyone who has seen a fire and reported it to 911 so we can attend quickly to protect the community.

“We rely heavily on our community members to be eyes and ears out there, so if you see a fire, please don’t hesitate to call 911 immediately.

“Every second counts in an emergency and we are ready to serve the community when needed.”

Police continue to investigate the cause of the fires, media relations officer Cpl. Tania Finn said.

“Given the heightened threat of fires during the hot summer season, it is especially important to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour to police immediately.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact the local detachment at 250-545-7171.

– with Roger Knox, Black Press files