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String of suspected Nanaimo arsons prompts warning from RCMP, firefighters

Click to play video: 'Downtown Nanaimo struggles with arson spree' Downtown Nanaimo struggles with arson spree
Nanaimo's downtown core has been hit by more than twenty arsons in the past three months. Kylie Stanton reports – Jun 16, 2021

Police and firefighters in Nanaimo have issued a public warning following a string of suspected arsons in the city in recent months.

Nanaimo RCMP said there have been 20 suspicious fires in the downtown area, including a June 4 fire that caused “significant damage” to a business on Cliff Street.

In a media release, Mounties said they had identified several persons of interest in the investigation.

Read more: Crews called to scrapyard fire near Nanaimo airport

“There are still many fires that remain unsolved and this is troubling,” Const. Gary O’Brien said.

Businesses and homeowners are being asked to keep an eye out for anyone suspicious who may be scouting out targets to start fires.

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Click to play video: 'Nanaimo suspicious fire destroys precious collectables, rare car' Nanaimo suspicious fire destroys precious collectables, rare car
Nanaimo suspicious fire destroys precious collectables, rare car – Mar 26, 2021

Businesses should also take care to ensure the area around their property is neat and that combustible materials are not readily at hand, Nanaimo Fire Chief Tim Doyle said.

“The biggest concern we have is combustible materials stored outside businesses overnight. Most are added to dumpsters that are not secured. These need to be locked and the waste material disposed of or removed from the site daily,” he said.

Read more: Man charged with arson in connection with fire at Masonic Hall in Vancouver

Doyle also urged people to ensure cardboard, pallets, used cooking oil and packing materials were not accessible, and that they keep lawns well maintained to reduce the potential for fires to spread.

Anyone with information on the suspicious fires is asked to contact Nanaimo RCMP.

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