Ar­son­ist puts wide area at risk

Fire­fight­ers douse two de­lib­er­ately set fires be­fore they have chance to spread

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY ERIC MC­CARTHY

Two de­lib­er­ately set fires at aban­doned build­ings in West Prince had po­ten­tial to cause wide­spread dam­age, ac­cord­ing to the deputy chief of the O’Leary Fire Depart­ment.

Par­tic­u­larly trou­bling was a fire at an aban­doned build­ing in Derby.

“If it had got­ten into the woods, that would take care of all the woods for the whole shore, right through He­bron, right to West Point,” Ja­son Greenan said.

The O’Leary Fire Depart­ment was re­spond­ing to a 2:15 a.m. call to the fire in Derby when fire­fight­ers no­ticed a glow in the sky to­wards Mount Royal and they called in the sec­ond alarm.

The fire­fight­ers on the first truck as­sessed the scene in Mount Royal be­fore con­tin­u­ing on to the Derby fire, about eight kilo­me­tres away, leav­ing the re­spon­ders on the sec­ond truck to put out the Mount Royal fire.

The O’Leary depart­ment split its 14 to 15 re­spond­ing fire­fight­ers between the two fires, and they were as­sisted in Derby by West Point Fire Depart­ment.

“There’s an ex­treme fire ban on right now,” Greenan pointed out. “Any­one found guilty of burn­ing a struc­ture would also be re­spon­si­ble for any dam­age done if it turned into a for­est fire or burned the next struc­ture.”

Greenan es­ti­mates the Derby fire was set first as the aban­doned cot­tage was pretty well lev­elled when fire­fight­ers ar­rived.

The roof had al­ready caved in on the aban­doned bun­ga­low in Mount Royal, but the walls were still up when fire­fight­ers reached it. That fire, he said, was start­ing to spread into grass and into a small grove of trees that sur­rounded the aban­doned home.

Fire­fight­ers had doused a de­lib­er­ately set fire at that same bun­ga­low last fall.

West Prince RCMP is treat­ing both of Sun­day’s fires as ar­son in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

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