From Michael Potestio, Kamloops This Week.
A vehicle was torched overnight Wednesday (Oct. 19) on the used car lot of incoming mayor-elect Reid Hamer-Jackson.
Kamloops RCMP said police were called to the property in the 200-block of Victoria Street West at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday to assist Kamloops Fire Rescue where an SUV was fully engulfed in flames. The cause of the suspicious fire is still under investigation.
Hamer-Jackson told KTW he does not know if the damage inflicted on the vehicle is connected to his mayoral run.
He said the damaged vehicle is an older car that was already missing its back window and is sometimes used as refuge by people who cannot access the Emerald Centre shelter across from his business, noting the vehicle is sought out more often as the weather turns cold.
Hamer Jackson told KTW he awoke this morning to see his security cameras had gone off and received a call from another local business about the fire. He said he arrived at his business just as the last fire truck was pulling out, the vehicle still smouldering at about 7 a.m.
Asked if he thinks the fire was lit intentionally due to his election, Hamer-Jackson said he doesn’t want to speculate, though he told Radio NL this morning he finds the timing of the occurrence odd given his recent election.
“I don’t want to make any assumptions,” Hamer-Jackson said, adding he’s never had a car fire on the lot.
Hamer-Jackson was elected last weekend after running on a platform largely focused on better management of homeless shelters and crime, and his business is across the street from many such shelters and has often been the target of vandalism and break-ins to vehicles on the lot.
“I don’t know if it’s targeted. The police were here, they’re doing an investigation. The fire department, they called me. We got file numbers and stuff like that, so we’ll let them decide that,” Hamer-Jackson said.
Kamloops RCMP is looking for witnesses and video, following a vehicle fire at a downtown business early this morning.
Hamer-Jackson said he’s in the process of sending his security footage to police, footage he said shows movement and a number of people on the property prior to the fire.
Kamloops RCMP appear to be in the process of identifying any suspects.
“Police have located and spoke with one person observed in the area at the time of the blaze,” Cpl. Crystal Evelyn said in a press release.
“Officers are currently reviewing security footage to see if they can confirm and identify the presence of two other people who were also allegedly in the area and may have information relevant to the investigation. In the meantime, we are releasing an image of the vehicle in case anyone witnessed or captured dash camera footage of it before or during the blaze.”
Anyone with video or information related to this incident, who has not yet spoken with police, is asked to contact the Kamloops RCMP Detachment at 250-828-3000.