Vernon arson suspect was on probation for Kelowna explosives charge

A fire at a 20th Street townhouse late Monday, July 18. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
A man arrested in connection with a fire at a 20th Street townhouse late Monday, July 18, has a lengthy criminal past. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)A man arrested in connection with a fire at a 20th Street townhouse late Monday, July 18, has a lengthy criminal past. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

A man charged with arson in a Vernon townhouse fire has a long list of previous criminal charges.

RCMP arrested a 41-year-old July 19 following a fire in a home the night prior, where witnesses reported hearing an explosion.

Lorne Paananen appears in Kamloops Provincial Court Friday, July 22, for a hearing in relation to the arson charge.

According to B.C. Court records, Paananen is on probation and has a firearms ban, for making or possessing explosives in Kelowna in November 2019.

The rest of his crimes, out of the Lower Mainland, include assault, vehicle theft, break of undertaking and driving while prohibited.

Born in 1981, Paananen is charged wih arson damaging property.

On July 18, a fire broke out in the middle unit of a Harwood-area townhome shortly before 11 p.m.

Witnesses reported hearing a loud bang, after which glass and debris was strewn across the road.

No one was injured and no one was in any of the units when emergency crews arrived on scene.

RCMP continue to investigate and have had the entire complex taped off since Tuesday morning. The road in front, 20th Street, was also blocked off for a period Thursday morning while investigations took place.

“There’s no definitive time as to when the scene will be released,” said RCMP media relations officer Const. Chris Terleski.

READ MORE: Arson arrest made in explosive Vernon fire

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