St. Boniface fires considered suspicious
Published Sunday, October 6, 2013 10:24AM CST
Last Updated Sunday, October 6, 2013 5:43PM CST
Firefighters were busy putting out several possible arsons in St. Boniface that damaged vehicles, garages and garbage bins early Sunday morning. All the calls came in between 4:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.
Crews battled as many as 10 fires, seven of which have been officially labeled arson, and the remainder will likely be labeled arson as well, said Alex Forrest, president of the firefighters' union.
The fires all happened within a few blocks of each other on Des Meurons Street, Desautels Street, De La Morenie Street, and Provencher Boulevard. They damaged as many as five vehicles, and smoke from the burning garbage bins forced the evacuation of an apartment on De La Morenie Street.
A piece of the front grill is all that remains of Roger Daignault's van after it was consumed by a blaze. Winnipeg police say was likely deliberately set.
"We actually noticed the fire there, I didn't even notice my van at first," said Daignault. “As I looked down the back alley, I noticed that there was more fires going on. When I realized I phoned 911 right away.”
Parts of Daignault's van melted right into his driveway. “Now the costs are going to come out of my pocket,” he said. “I have to get my driveway repaired. I'm going to have to put a claim in and obviously my insurance will go up a little more.”
Police spokesperson Jason Michalyshen said, although this type of activity isn’t typical in the area, arsons can happen in all areas of the city.
People living in the area are frightened. “It's scary, because…we live just down the back lane, it could have been our house,” said Samantha Cove.
Daignault has a message for whoever is responsible for the fires. "Man up to what you did and go see the police."
Police still don't know if these fires are the work of an individual or a group of people. The Winnipeg Police Arson Strike Force is investigating.
- With a report by Ben Miljure