Fires in vacant buildings and vehicles in multiple jurisdictions have become a matter of increasing concern and has prompted a series of investigations.
The Office of the Ontario Fire Marshall Emergency Management along with investigators in local jurisdictions are looking into a total of 17 unsolved fires.
There is a pattern to the way the fires are being set. The person(s) are targeting abandoned homes, barns and vehicles in the early hours of the morning.
We recognize the seriousness of suspicious fires in our community and the impact these incidents of the past few months could have on the safety of the public and first responders.
The OPP and fire officials are advising the owners of any abandoned or vacant buildings to: Secure any unlocked structures to prevent unauthorized person(s) from entering; remove any combustible materials from the structure; consider removing ladders, tools, equipment and other materials that might be used to gain access; post no trespassing signs; chain –off or adequately block driveways and all other means of vehicular access to the property, while still permitted authorized vehicle access when necessary; consider installing motion sensing cameras; request neighbours to watch properties and make monthly visits to vacant buildings
The OPP and fire officials are also urging members of the public to report any suspicious vehicles or people in the community to police.
Anybody with any information about the incidents is urged to contact Det. Const. Heidi Pautsch or Det. Const. Kevin Detweiler by calling Wellington County OPP at 1-888-310-1122. Citizens can also call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submit a tip online at csgw.tips.
Crime Stoppers Guelph Wellington announced that their usual minimum reward of $50 for information leading to an arrest or conviction has been increased to $1,000 for helpful tips about the fires
Sept. 24, 2016 House fire on the 16th Line in Mapleton
Oct. 14, 2016 Farmhouse fire on the 3rd Line in Guelph/Eramosa
Oct. 19, 2016 House fire on the 3rd Line in Guelph/Eramosa
Oct. 28, 2016 House fire on Arkell Road in Puslinch
Oct. 30, 2016 Vehicle fire on Townline Road in Puslinch
Oct. 31, 2016 Vehicle fire on Side Road 10 in Puslinch
Nov. 16, 2016 Sawmill fire on the 6th Line in Guelph/Eramosa
Nov. 16, 2016 Cabin fire on County Road 29 in Guelph/Eramosa
Dec. 5, 2016 Barn fire on Fife Road in Guelph
Jan. 19, 2017 Mill fire on County Road 49 in Guelph/Eramosa
Feb. 3, 2017 Shop fire on Highway 7 in Guelph/Eramosa
Feb. 3, 2017 Barn and house fires on Township Road 3 in Guelph/Eramosa
Feb. 15, 2017 Fire in bales of straw near 3rd Line and Erin-Halton Townline in Erin
Mar. 05, 2017 House fire on Queen St in Morriston
April 09, 2017 Abandon House fire Concession 2 Puslinch
April 13, 2017 House under construction Concession 1 Puslinch
April 25, 2017 Large debris pile Concession 2 Puslinch
Ryan Ladner, Fire and Life Safety Educator with Puslinch Fire adds the following:
This is the season for grass fires and accidental fires due to people clearing brush and having small fires to eliminate yard waste. According to the Puslinch Burning by law, fires must be only set between 7 am and 9 pm and only be 1 metre by 1 metre in size. Fires cannot be started in wind conditions greater than 16 kilometers per hour. Burn permits are available at the Township Office and we caution residents to use caution during dry conditions.