An East Hill resident had their leaf bags torched in front of their home overnight April 8. Less than two weeks prior their garbage can was lit on fire too. (Taryn Allen photo)

An East Hill resident had their leaf bags torched in front of their home overnight April 8. Less than two weeks prior their garbage can was lit on fire too. (Taryn Allen photo)

Garbage, leaf fires spark fear in North Okanagan

First an East Hill residents’ trash can, then bagged leaves were lit on fire

Two fires in less than two weeks have left some Vernon residents in fear.

A lower East Hill home has been the victim of suspected arson twice now.

The first fire sometime overnight April 8 was set on a pile of bags full of leaves put out on the curb waiting to be picked up by the City of Vernon.

Prior to that, on March 30, the same 37th Avenue home’s garbage can was set ablaze in the early morning hours.

“I woke up at 2:15 a.m. to my neighbour frantically ringing my doorbell because someone had lit our garbage can on fire, completely melted to the ground. Right near our recycling bins and my husbands work van that was parked on the street,” Taryn Allen said.

While thankful for her good neighbours, Allen said there was great potential for more than garbage and debris to burn.

“It’s a bit scary because my husband’s work van is parked right near where the fires happened.”

And she isn’t the only one whose trash was lit on fire recently, according to community members and the police.

“When I called the first time I wasn’t the only one to call in about this they (RCMP) said.”

RCMP confirm both incidents are under investigation and could have ended much worse.

“There is a great risk that comes with deliberately setting fires, potentially putting people’s properties and lives at risk,” RCMP media relations Const. Chris Terleski said. “Individuals found responsible could potentially face criminal charges of mischief or arson which carry sanctions that include fines or possibly jail time.”

A few Vernon residents reported seeing melted garbage, which burned the road, prior to March 30 on Okanagan Landing Road, near Paddlewheel Park.

Another can was torched along Okanagan Avenue, just past the Strand, according to another resident.

That same night, a boat near the Vernon Yacht Club was vandalized.

“Our friend’s boat was vandalized by six people who — based on the surveillance footage — appear to be young or teenage boys,” Holly Colovos said.

“The six people walked over from Paddlewheel Park and not only trespassed but also vandalized the boat using fire extinguishers. Whoever you six people are, this is unacceptable behaviour and you should be disgusted and ashamed of yourselves.”

A few days prior, a dumpster fire was also sparked on March 22. Fireworks are suspected as the cause. Later, a fire spread through the dry grass next to the BC Hydro substation on Pottery Road.

Anyone with information on any of these incidents can contact Crime Stoppers at 1- 800-222-8477 or online at nokscrimestoppers.com.

“We need the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to police immediately,” Terleski said.

READ MORE: Fireworks suspected in Vernon dumpster fire

READ MORE: Potentially explosive grass fire snuffed near Vernon substation


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

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