More than 20 suspicious fires reported in downtown Nanaimo

Nanaimo RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue are joining forces to investigate more than 20 fires deliberately set in the downtown area in the past three months.

While many have been minor and often involved cardboard or other material found in dumpsters being set ablaze, a June 4 fire that started outside a Cliff Street business caused significant damage.

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Quick work by firefighters kept it from spreading to the interior.

“To date, our officers have identified several persons of interest who may be responsible for some of these fires,” said Nanaimo RCMP Const. Gary O’Brien. “There are still many fires that remain unsolved and this is troubling.”

Fire Chief Tim Doyle said the biggest concern is that some businesses have combustible material stored outside at night. He said dumpsters should be locked and emptied daily.

Doyle offered these tips:

• Materials like cardboard, pallets, used cooking oil and packing material should be taken away.

• Clean out areas next to buildings, as well as alcoves and alleys.

• Keep lawns cut and maintain other landscaped areas to reduce flammable material.

Call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 with information on the fires.

jbell@timescolonist.com

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