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 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

Emma Garriott is releasing her second album titled ‘Sad White Girl Angst.’ (Emma Garriott / Facebook photo)
North Island musician releases second album titled ‘Sad White Girl Angst’

“When you hear it, I want you to feel like your best friend in the whole world is sitting beside you’

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement forecasting windy weather Sunday and Monday. (News Bulletin file photo)
More windy weather on the way for Vancouver Island

Environment Canada issues special weather statement for Victoria, east coast of Island, north Island

Jay Vaughn, Brian Pohto and Janet Pohto opened up the Island Sun’s tuna freezers for anyone worried about food thawing over the four-day power outage on Malcolm Island. (Christopher Hurst photo)
Community shines bright during power outage

Hardest hit areas on the North Island stepped up to keep neighbours warm and fed

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Most Read