Video surveillance footage screen shot of arson suspect as seen on Sept. 25, immediately following the commission of the alleged arson incident. - Image: RCMP

Kelowna police believe arsonist at work

RCMP are asking for the public’s help in identifying a man they think has set a string of fires

Kelowna RCMP are seeking the the public’s assistance to help identify a suspect who’s image was captured moments after he allegedly lit a fire late Monday morning in Kelowna.

Kelowna RCMP received several calls from the public on Monday at 11 a.m., each to report witnessing a male allegedly igniting a fire at the corner of Springfield Road and Burtch Road in Kelowna. The suspect reportedly fled east along Springfield Road, until he cut through a business parking lot on the south side of the roadway and into an adjacent orchard.

The arson suspect was described to police as a caucasian male, approximately 5-feet-7 inches tall and 180 pounds, with brown hair and a brown goatee. He was seen wearing a grey hoodie, dark coloured pants, dark running shoes and sunglasses while carrying a stick.

GIS investigators believe the nuisance fire may be related to a handful of other fires of a similar nature reported during the past couple weeks in Kelowna.

“The Kelowna RCMP General Investigations Section is working very closely with the Kelowna Fire Department to ensure all fires of a similar nature are linked when possible and fully investigated collaboratively between both agencies,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey.

The other fires include:

– On Sept. 14, shortly after 4 am, emergency crews responded to a report of a stack of wooden pallets on fire behind a business in the 1500 block of Gordon Drive. Damage to an adjacent duplex was sustained as a result of the blaze. A unidentified suspicious male was observed in the area prior to the fire.

– On Sept. 19, shortly before 3 am, RCMP were dispatched to assist the fire department who had responded to a pair of dumpster fires in the rear parking lot of a business located in the 1800 block of Baron Road.

– On Sept. 21, just before the noon hour, RCMP received a report of an apparent overnight arson discovered outside a business located in the 1500 block of Banks Road. The complainants suspected that the fire may have been lit by a transient individual and had since cleaned the scene.

– On Sept. 25, RCMP were made aware of suspect arson incident which occurred on Sept. 21, where a small amount of debris was allegedly lit on fire, on the sidewalk in front of a business located in the 2300 block of Highway 97 North. The small fire was easily extinguished by a passerby.

Anyone with any information on any of the above arsons is asked to contact the Cst. Kevin Hamilton of the Kelowna RCMP General Investigations Section (GIS) at 250-470-6302. Or remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, leaving a tip online at www.crimestoppers.net or by texting your tip to CRIMES (274637) ktown.