A spike in purposely set fires continued May 20 when Greater Sudbury Police Service and the fire department were called to a fire at Queen’s Athletic Field near downtown around 7:30.
Firefighters quickly discovered that an accelerant was used to light the blaze, which then caused the grass to also catch fire. Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying two teens who were seen in the area. Both are males between 14-16 years old and were seen fleeing the area. One youth was wearing a navy blue T-shirt and the other youth was wearing a camouflage type T-shirt.
It’s possible the youth wearing the blue shirt may have gotten into a blue minivan, police said. Officials are concerned about the risk these continued fires are causing to property, emergency crews and members of the public, should one of the fires become uncontrollable or spread to an area where it could affect public safety.
“I could say at this point exactly what’s going on because we don’t have all the information yet,” Staff Sgt. Peter Orsino said May 21. “But I can tell you three young offenders have been charged with a total of seven charges. And these individuals are area youths.”
Two of the youths had been freed at the time of the Queen’s Athletic field fires, but Orsino said they didn’t yet know if they played any role in that blaze.
“One of the three might still have been in custody,” he said. “But I couldn’t say that. Until the investigation takes you there, I don’t think you can say that.”
Police have responded to several small fires in recent days, culminating in the arrest of a young offender Saturday evening. Police and fire crews responded to a bush fire on King at Whissel streets in Sudbury on May 19, in the city’s Flour Mill area. Witnesses reported seeing a large amount of smoke from the blaze.
“The bush fire was a set fire, and there’s one young offender charged,” Orsino said, adding that the male offender is 15.
While not ruling it out, he said the suspect isn’t being charged with setting other suspicious bush fires in recent days.
“At this point in the investigation, we only have him linked to this fire,” Orsino said. “But the investigation is far from complete.”
No personal property has been damaged as a result of the fires, he said, which have been restricted to bush areas and were extinguished by firefighters from Greater Sudbury Fire Services.
Orsino said a truck and ATV on fire on Lorne Street reported around the same time Saturday was unrelated to the bush fire.
Other fires in the last few days include:
- On May 18 at 1:10 a.m., police were called to a bush fire on Tilton Lake Road. The fire was extinguished by firefighters within a few minutes. This was one of several fires police and firefighters responded to in the area over a short time span.
- On May 17 around 4:40 a.m., firefighters were called to South Shore Road for a bush fire. They responded to another bush fire on Raft Lake Road, also on May 17, at around 5:30 a.m. Both fires were quickly extinguished by firefighters.
- Also on May 17, around 9 p.m., firefighters were called to two bush fires, one Raft Lake Road and another on Kasten Lake Road. The Raft Lake Road fire smaller and was put out by area residents, while the Kasten Lake Road fire was larger and was extinguished by firefighters.
Based on the fact both fires were close together in time and location, police believe they are related and likely deliberately set. Police also say they are concerned about the dangers fire presents to people in the area, as well as the surrounding property.
Arson is a criminal offence and those who intentionally or recklessly cause a fire will be charged.
Posted by Darren MacDonald