May 21, 2019 11:46 am

‘Weekend from hell’ for local firefighters as arson season begins

Alex Forrest, the president of the United Fire Fighters of Winnipeg.

File / Global News

A number of fires over the May long weekend – including a deadly Selkirk Avenue blaze that killed two people – were part of a “weekend from hell” for local firefighters, said their union president.

United Firefighters of Winnipeg president Alex Forrest told 680 CJOB that the arrival of warm weather often brings with it an increase in arson throughout the city.

READ MORE: Young Street fire was arson, say Winnipeg Police

“We had over seven fires throughout the weekend,” said Forrest.

“It started off with the tragic fire on Selkirk Avenue. There’s many of these fires that are being investigated now.

“Unfortunately, it’s that time of year. Every time during this summer, we see this coming out.”

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“It’s not unusual for calls to increase during the warm weather … but all I’ve been seeing and all I’ve heard from the firefighters that I’ve talked to is that it was a highly busy weekend, the busiest it’s been in years and years and years,” said Kelcey French, a firefighter and union executive.

“It was one for the books … We’re hoping this trend doesn’t continue.”

Forrest said firefighters will be launching an annual campaign soon to encourage Winnipeggers to remove rubbish from their back lanes, as well as community outreach to help local residents keep the streets safe in regard to arson.

WATCH: Two dead in North End house fire, two others taken to hospital

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