Arson is likely cause of a string of fires set in Marsh Creek near Fruitvale on Friday night. (Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire and Rescue photo)

Arson suspected in several wildfires lit near Kootenay town

RCMP making progress in arson investigation of Marsh Creek fires

In a time of extreme fire danger, Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire and Rescue was put to the test on the weekend.

Regional fire and rescue crews extinguished a series of three intentionally set fires in Marsh Creek near Fruitvale on Friday, and another blaze on Tamarac Avenue in Trail on Saturday.

The first call came in at around 5 p.m. Friday, and regional firefighters from Trail, Montrose, and Fruitvale responded to a wildfire on Red Road near Marsh Creek Rd.

The fire was under control within a half hour, however, while regional crews and a BC Wildfire team were conducting an investigation, a second fire was set at 8:09 p.m.

“This time, it was a wood pile that the homeowner had purchased to heat their home for the upcoming winter,” said captain Grant Tyson. “Luckily one engine was still on scene with the investigation crew and was able to hold the fire until other resources arrived.”

Just over an hour later, the third fire of the night was lit back in the forest.

Fire crews were still on scene, so the flames were knocked down quickly and extinguished by 10 p.m.

“After (Friday’s) three calls, in the last seven days regional fire rescue has responded to six fires on Marsh Creek Rd.,” said Tyson. “We are on the edge of being ‘EXTREME’ on the BC Wildfire Danger Rating and are working hard to find the cause of these fires.”

Trail RCMP is leading the investigation, and Sgt. Mike Wicentowich said progress is being made.

“We have an investigative team put together … we have some good information and we’re going to be following up on it and hopefully this will come to a resolution.”

Wicentowich warns that people on social media should refrain from making assumptions and accusations before an arrest has been made.

“At this time, there’s a social media campaign about who it is, but I’d like to advise the public there has been no suspect identified at this time, we’re still working on that,” he said. “And we urge them not to blame people that may not be involved.”

Fire Chief Dan Derby said they were very appreciative of the support and cooperation they were getting from the RCMP and BC Wildfire service in the investigation.

“From a community perspective, we’re doing everything we can to respond to the incidents as they happen and from a community safety perspective, we are doing everything we can.”

Tamarac Avenue

A resident from across the Columbia River noticed a billowing plume of black smoke emanating from West Trail and made the call to the fire department around 8 a.m.

The fire started in a pile of tires between two homes on Tamarac Avenue, then quickly spread to the buildings. A duty crew from Trail was on scene in three minutes.

Additional apparatuses from Station 374 Trail and Station 372 Warfield assisted, and the suspicious blaze was out by 9:30 a.m.

“As to how it started is unclear at this point, but because of the tires being stored immediately adjacent to the building, and the fire starting at the base of the pile of tires, the fire spread quickly up one side of the building and into the attic,” said Derby.

Because of the steep location, accessing the area can be difficult, as Tamarac Avenue is a fragmented street along the slope of West Trail. Also, its close proximity to other houses and wooded areas in times of extreme heat can be potentially disastrous.

Fortunately an off-duty firefighter spotted the blaze and was able to assist the Trail crew in identifying the location, attacking it, and suppressing it quickly and successfully.

“One of our members was going home from work, and saw the smoke and was able to call back to the station and give them really good detail, and he actually got back to the station in time so we had a four-man response,” said Derby.

“The nice part is the guys just drove straight in, so it worked out really well and we were able to stretch a line and hold it and we had good support from all our members in Trail and Warfield.”

Anyone with information on the suspicious fires is asked to contact the Trail RCMP.



sports@trailtimes.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

bc wildfiresKootenay Boundary Regional District

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

Anne Marie Sam seeks NDP nomination for Nechako Lakes riding

She also ran in 2017 but was defeated by BC Liberal John Rustad

Reserve a gym spot online with the Houston Leisure Facility

The online system is another step to make things easy during the pandemic

Bulk water, sewage project gets council’s approval

Facility to service large-scale users

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Thousands of child care spaces coming to 35 B.C. communities

Province announces milestone in Childcare BC plan

Most Read