Pranks fuel big jump in Richmond arsons
Richmond RCMP are warning pranksters about their actions as the city’s number of arson calls has skyrocketed this year mostly due to “mischief” fires.
Cpl. Stephanie Ashton broke down 11 cases that have occurred this year to 24 hours on Wednesday — and all but three of them would be considered minor cases.
But still, the large number of pranks means Mounties are now reporting to the City of Richmond in their monthly statistics report that year-to-date fires as of February had jumped 700%.
Four of the cases were school fires, Ashton explained. One was a few pieces of paper in a residential laneway. Another was a fire behind a spa, and two were inside garbage cans at commercial businesses.
“But still, fire (department) has to attend, they have to ensure the fire is out so it doesn’t continue to burn,” she said.
“People don’t realize we’re calling those resources out when they’re pranks.”
That’s not to say the city hasn’t had its share of real cases this year.
On March 19, Mounties and the fire department went to the 1100 block of Thorpe Road to investigate the cause of a fully engulfed vehicle.
The cause is unknown, but Ashton said she’s seen “situations where it’s been a stolen car set on fire so it’s not identifiable.”
Police are also trying to determine if two house fires this month were acts of arson.
One at the 16500 block of River Road gutted a home to the point where the family that occupied it is homeless.
Another occurred this past Monday near No. 5 Road and Cambie Road, where the interior of the home was gutted.
She said investigators are “waiting for the place to cool down so they could go inside and determine if it’s an arson.”
No occupants were inside the home at the time, she added. No one has been arrested in any of the cases.
- 4 school dumpsters
- 1 vehicle
- 2 house fires
- 1 residential laneway
- 1 fire behind business
- 2 business garbage cans