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West Kelowna man caught on video tossing burning object into bush could face charges: RCMP

Click to play video: 'Video captures burning object tossed into bush behind Okanagan home' Video captures burning object tossed into bush behind Okanagan home
The video was posted to Facebook and shows a shirtless man walking along a steep, bush-covered hill behind a home in West Kelowna – Jul 11, 2021

A West Kelowna man is facing potential charges after allegedly lighting a fire in a deliberate act of arson.

On July 10, just after 8:30 p.m., West Kelowna RCMP were called to the 3000 block of Webber Road where neighbours had just extinguished a fire on the hillside.

Witnesses told police they had observed a man lighting the fire and identified the suspect and his vehicle to officers.

Read more: Video shows shirtless man tossing burning object into bush behind West Kelowna home

A 36-year-old West Kelowna man was taken into custody at approximately 9 p.m. and later released on conditions for a future court date.

The investigation is ongoing and the file will be submitted to the BC Prosecution Service for charge assessment, police said.

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“This incident was extremely dangerous, and we commend the members of the neighbourhood for doing an excellent job in extinguishing the fire so quickly and helping progress the investigation,” said Staff Sgt. Duncan Dixon of the West Kelowna RCMP.

“The conditions in this area are extremely dry and without their quick actions, this could potentially have grown into a substantial fire.”

Read more: 2 churches on reserve land destroyed by fire in South Okanagan

The incident was captured on video and posted to Facebook. It shows a shirtless man walking along a steep, bush-covered hill behind a home in West Kelowna.

The camera follows the person, who can later be seen bending down and picking up a burning object, then walking with it.

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Not much can be seen in the next few seconds, because of foliage, but it becomes apparent the burning object is thrown or tossed into the bush.

The camera then pans for the man, who can be seen walking up a hill, with the video ending.

Read more: What the Catholic church destroyed by fire meant to Penticton Indian Band

On the Facebook page, one post said, “my neighbour saw him in the bushes behind his house and thought it was weird so he started recording him. Would have been much worse if it wasn’t for the quick response of all the neighbours with fire extinguishers.”

Anyone with information is urged to call the West Kelowna RCMP at 250-768-2880.

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—With files from Doyle Potenteau 

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