Eye in the sky

Vanier land­lord in­stalls se­cu­rity cam­eras af­ter sus­pi­cious fires

Ottawa Sun - - NEWS - PAULA Mc­COOEY

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

JEAN LE­VAC

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.

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