‘You could hear sirens all around the neighbourhood’; Suspicious fires in Saskatoon under investigation

SASKATOON — The Saskatoon Fire Department is calling in police resources to help solve the mystery of several garbage and recycling bin fires.

“We’ve had a bit of a rash of dumpster fires in the last few weeks and they are very difficult to investigate when they are small garbage-type fires like that,” battalion chief Len Protz said.

On Feb. 14 the fire department responded to eight suspicious fires peppered throughout the Pleasant Hill and King George neighbourhoods.

Among those suspicious fires, Michelle Lee’s garage was a target. Lee tells CTV she stepped out her back door for a cigarette when she saw smoke billowing from near her garage. It was caused by a bag of garbage that had been set on fire.

This isn’t the first instance she’s been a victim of arson, she said.

“The reason my backyard is wide open is because my fence has been burnt down twice so I can’t afford to build another one just yet.”

Lee called 911 and within seconds firefighters occupied her back alley and started tackling the fire. The fire department was so quick to respond because they were nearby battling a flaming garbage pile, she said.

“You could hear the sirens all around the neighbourhood and a firefighter told me the reason they responded so quickly is because there was a whole bunch of fires in the area at that time,” Lee said.

The first call about a fire came in at 2:30 a.m. More calls about bin fires were reported at 4:37 a.m. and two more at 5:30 a.m. Three more suspicious fires, including Lee’s garage fire, were sparked between 12:42 p.m. and 2:43 p.m.

Protz said the circumstances around these fires including the properties on fire, the time of day and the nature of the fires make them suspicious.

No suspects have been identified.

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