Regina fire reports increase in deliberate garage fires

Statistics from Regina Fire Protective Services show garage fires increased roughly 30 per cent from 2020 to 2021.

Randy Ryba, fire marshal for Regina fire said there has been 49 garage fires since January, up from the 32 reported for 2020 in the same period.

Ryba said this is “quite concerning” as most fires are accidental.

 

“In this instance with sheds and garages and outbuildings we’re seeing a trend of more deliberately set fires than unintentional or accidental fires,” said Ryba.

This trend of fires is mainly located in the city’s older core neighbourhoods.

Regina fire works closely with Regina police, which has been investigating fires suspected to be arson.

“When it comes to things like arson and graffiti and those types of things, often there’s one or two people or a small number of people, that are responsible for a large number of these incidents happening,” said Chief Evan Bray of the Regina Police Service.

In a statement to CTV News, Regina police said from June 1 to Aug. 26, 2020 they found seven reported incidents where a garage was on fire.

“For the same period for this year, I found eight reported incidents,” the statement said.

Bray said he doesn’t have a specific reason for the incidents, but there could be times there is a direct link to individuals involved in a gang.

“Really it’s about focusing on individuals that are causing these events in our community and that will usually greatly decrease the number of incidents that will occur,” he said.

Ryba said investigators have done a good job of getting people before the courts.

Educators also work closely in core neighbourhoods with community associations and schools to ensure people understand how to practice fire safety.

This includes having a lockable gate and lighting your property in back alleys, as well as keeping rolling bins on the property and away from structures.

Ryba said garbage bins are the easiest trend because they are movable and full of combustible material.

“That’s why I’m asking people if they can keep their roll out bins on the property away from structure it does go a long way in reducing the risk of preventing.”

He also encourages people to be fire safe at all times, including around barbecues and fire pits, to keep properties safe.