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Five fires set in Kamloops alleys

Police say it is not yet known if the May 15 arson spree is connected to other recent deliberately set fires
This dumpster in the alley behind the Frick and Frack restaurant, downtown at Victoria Street and Sixth Avenue, was among five set ablaze on the night of May 15, 2023.

Kamloops Mounties and firefighters are investigating after a series of fires were set in downtown dumpsters over the course of an hour on Monday (May 15) night.

The series of blazes were ignited from 10:45 p.m. onward. According to police, one fire came “extremely close” to spreading to the Frick and Frack restaurant at the corner of Victoria Street and Sixth Avenue. Four more dumpster fires were reported and extinguished in alleyways between Victoria and Seymour streets.

The next day, at just before 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 16, officers were called to the 700-block of Sydney Avenue on the North Shore, where a man was reportedly lighting grass on fire, but he fled before police arrived.

That suspect is described as a white male standing approximately 5-foot-8 and wearing a white muscle shirt and white pants. 

“The timing and proximity of multiple dumpster fires last night is definitely suspicious and is not believed to be an individual or random event,” Cpl. Crystal Evelyn said in a release, noting the arsons are a “very serious safety concern.”

At this time, police said it is not known if the May 15 dumpster fires are connected to any other recent blazes in the city, including a series of arson attacks on vehicles in Aberdeen and Knutsford on May 13 and a number of fires in April that police and fire officials are investigating together.

Kamloops Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Scott Karpiak said business owners are encouraged to lock their dumpsters and to move them away from their buildings as far as possible.

“We realize space is at a premium, but believe that creating some distance between a dumpster and a building can be effective in helping to prevent fire spread through radiant heat or direct flame impingement,” Karpiak said.

Police and fire officials continue their appeal to the public for witnesses and video that could help identify a suspect in the arson investigations.

“If you haven’t already, please take a look at any security footage you may have to see if it captured anything that could be of assistance,” Evelyn said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Kamloops RCMP at 250-828-3000. Those seeking more information on fire safety can contact Kamloops Fire Rescue at 250-372-5131.