A woman has been arrested after a number of suspicious fires were started in the Vancouver Island community of Port Alberni in one night.
Early in the evening on Wednesday, March 29, the Port Alberni RCMP were called to assist the Port Alberni Fire Department (PAFD) with a grass fire at the train tracks near Wallace Street and Stamp Avenue.
This was the second grass fire started in the area in just over an hour—the first one grew to 20 feet by 50 feet before it was extinguished. The second was approximately 10 feet by 30 feet, according to PAFD.
After a thorough investigation, RCMP say they identified a woman who witnesses had observed at both fires. A short time later, frontline officers located and arrested this woman, in her 30s, who is known to police. The woman has not been named by RCMP.
“It is concerning to see deliberate fires being set like this in the centre of town,” said Cst. Richard Johns, media relations officer for the Port Alberni RCMP. “After multiple suspicious fires were set last year, we understand the public’s concern for the safety of their homes and properties. The comprehensive investigation of front line officers, tied with the vigilance of concerned citizens, has hopefully put a damper on an early fire season in the Alberni Valley.”
The suspect was released from custody “on strict conditions,” and RCMP say she will be monitored by community corrections.
The Port Alberni Fire Department responded to a third grass fire on Wednesday night, this one near Third Avenue and Kingsway Avenue. Port Alberni RCMP did not say if this fire was related to the others.