Yet another arson attack in North Kamloops?
Kamloops Mounties are investigating a suspicious fire that gutted a home on the North Shore early Monday morning (Oct. 24).
At about 1 a.m., emergency crews were called to a duplex fire at 238 Chestnut Ave.
The blaze was fully involved before firefighters arrived at the scene and Kamloops RCMP Cpl. Bob Jones confirmed the fire is being treated as suspicious.
“It is because we don’t know [how it started],” he said.
“There’s no way of knowing until we get in there and take a look.”
Jones said there were no injuries and the home’s occupants were safely evacuated.
Neighbouring houses were also evacuated as a precaution.
About an hour before the fire on Chestnut Avenue, police and firefighters dealt with another suspicious blaze about eight blocks away, Jones said.
In that instance, a motorcycle parked on a property on McGowan Avenue had been torched.
Jones said it’s too early to determine if the two fires are related.
The fire at 238 Chestnut Ave. — directly across the street from the playground outside Arthur Hatton elementary — appears to have started in the area of a shed behind the home, but investigators still don’t know the exact origin.
It’s believed it began as an exterior fire behind the home, eventually spreading into the building’s interior.
Kent Hendricks, who lives in the 100-block of Chestnut Avenue, said neighbours are talking about a group of a half-dozen teenagers who were apparently spotted in the alley behind the home in the moments before the fire broke out.
“Apparently, there were a couple of kids back there — four boys and two girls,” he said, adding area residents have been worried by the spate of suspicious fires in North Kamloops in recent months.
“It does worry you a little bit, yeah.”
There have been more than a dozen suspicious fires in Kamloops dating back to April, most on the North Shore.
Until Monday morning’s blaze, they had been limited mainly to sheds, garages and vehicles.
Kamloops Fire Rescue Insp. Dan Funk pegged the damage to the duplex somewhere in the neighbourhood of $100,000.
He said the fire department will continue to work with RCMP as the investigation progresses.
Anyone with information about either blaze can call Kamloops Mounties at 250-828-3000 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.