EDITORIAL: Suspicious fires cause for concern

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We expect everyone was a bit disquieted to hear of the string of suspicious fires in New Minas last week – especially when taken along with several other, apparently unconnected, suspicious fires in various parts of the county.

And if we aren’t concerned, maybe we should be, and start making every effort to help police make sure the person or persons responsible are found and stopped.

We can’t presume to understand how the mind of an arsonist works, but the scary part is that these fires are normally set completely at random and with little or no warning.

Yes, the fires in New Minas had a definite pattern to them that was easily discernable to police and others as well – which hopefully will help in apprehending the culprit or culprits.

Fortunately, police are trained well, and know from experience besides, how the criminal mind works.

On the other hand, we’re left to wonder – as we expect the police are as well – why target New Minas this time around, rather than a quieter, less obtrusive location?

Yes, there is lots of commercial space in the village, but the intention here appeared to be pure mischief, rather than targeting any one specific location over another.

We’re also left to wonder, with Halloween coming right up as this is being written, if this was some kind of ‘dress rehearsal’ for Oct. 31. We sincerely hope not, as incidents like this have the potential to be much worse than simple mischief.

We agree with New Minas fire chief James Redmond that any of last Wednesday’s fires – particularly the one at Milne Court – had the potential to be a lot worse than it was. Redmond termed the Milne Court incident a potential million-dollar loss.

Moreover, these fires aren’t being set in broad daylight, but late in the evening, under the cover of darkness – when most law-abiding citizens, including most of our volunteer firefighters, will have already settled for the night.

Which brings us to the real problem with incidents like these: virtually all our firefighters are volunteers, with day jobs, and the last thing they – or their employers – need is for them to be up half the night fighting needless fires.

Firefighters already have more than enough accidental ‘nuisance calls’ to deal with in the run of a year, without deliberately set fires to worry about as well.

It’s also disquieting to the public, both over the potential for cases of arson in their own neighbourhood and in not knowing where the perpetrators will strike next.

Hopefully, the person or persons responsible for these fires will be apprehended soon, and given the penalty – or in some cases, the treatment – they deserve.

Organizations: Milne Court

Geographic location: New Minas

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