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

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

The Quesnel RCMP Detachment is one of seven northern police buildings which can now connect directly to Prince George for daily bail hearings. (Observer File Photo)
Bail hearings going virtual in B.C.’s north

A court pilot project will see virtual courtroom cameras set up in seven RCMP detatchments

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Most Read