Eye in the sky
Vanier landlord installs security cameras after suspicious fires
A Vanier landlord installed security cameras around his property Wednesday after a number of suspicious fires left his east-end neighbourhood on edge.
The arson unit is investigating after seven suspicious fires within a five-block radius since April. It was about 5 a.m. on Saturday at 277 Granville St., between Montfort and Shakespeare streets, when it’s thought a perpetrator started a fire underneath the wooden stairs of the property, which has four rental units.
“I woke up at 5:30 in the morning on Saturday morning and, smelling fire, I said, ’What’s going on?’ “said a tenant, Mike, who only wished to give his first name. ”I opened up my curtain and I saw the fire right there. So right away I ran outside and put the fire out.”
On Tuesday, shortly after 1 a.m., a gate on the other side of the same property was torched.
The landlord, who would only identify himself as “Ali,” said police told him they had video footage from a neighbour of someone peddling away from the scene on a bike around 1:20 a.m., but it was not clear enough to provide a description.
“Everybody is worried, they (the tenants) didn’t sleep very well last night, and me, too. That’s why I bought cameras to install around.“
Sgt. Dave Christie of the Ottawa police arson squad said the recent incidents aren’t likely linked to earlier suspicious fires because the execution was different, but he didn’t want to dismiss the possibility entirely.
“I’m not really convinced that’s the same fires that we have been dealing with; it’s in the geographical area but the M.O. is different,” Christie said. “There was a recycle box that was in plain view, and in every other fire they have ignited the recycle box. So I don’t know if this is the same person or if this is somebody else.”
On April 10, firefighters battled three fires that began just after midnight, starting at 253 Deschamps Ave., then at 209 Ste. Anne Ave. and finally behind a restaurant at 270 Montreal Rd.
On May 20, a blaze caused $400,000 damage to a twostorey apartment building at 278 Shakespeare St. Police said the fire had been set around 12:45 a.m., and reached a second alarm before it was brought under control.
Brandy McInnes, who lives in the back unit of the targeted Granville Street property, says she fears for her safety.
“You have no safety, you could be sleeping in the middle of the night and you hear stuff,” she said. “It’s a dangerous situation. It’s quite a scary situation.”
Christie said there has been an increased police presence in the neighbourhood over the past few months, and anyone suspecting suspicious activity was asked to call police.
“There’s extra patrol in the area, they are doing their job in addition to extra patrol. On a busy night, they are out there taking calls, and when time permits they are out there patrolling the area to keep an eye on it.”
Police ask anyone with information regarding to call 613-236-1222, ext. 3770. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-2228477 (TIPS).
“Everybody is worried, they (the tenants) didn’t sleep very well last night, and me, too. That’s why I bought cameras to install around.” Ali, the landlord
Homeowner and landlord Ali of 227 Granville St., where a fire was set, points to the location where the fire began at the home. Ali has since installed security cameras at the property.