News

Teens charged in fire

Seven people have been charged under a municipal littering bylaw in connection with a large blaze in Westsyde in May.

Kamloops Fire Rescue Capt. Sheldon Guertin said the accused — one 17-year-old and six 18-year-olds, all male — were ticketed after an investigation focused on a Facebook picture uploaded shortly after the fire.

The image appeared to show a group of young men posing with a large pile of wooden pallets.

Guertin said investigators determined the pallets had been dropped off by the seven men now facing charges.

There was not enough evidence to lay charges in relation to the fire itself, but Guertin said the littering charges — and the accompanying $1,000 fines — are the next-best thing.

“If the pallets were never there, the chances of us having a fire there wasn’t likely,” he said.

“The way we looked at it was cause and effect and we wanted to send a clear message that this is not acceptable in our community.”

The May 30 blaze in the Noble Creek area above Westsyde grew to 3.5 hectares before firefighters could extinguish it.

Guertin said the exhaustive operation cost taxpayers about $70,000.

He said two of the accused have made arrangements to pay their fines, while the remaining five will likely fight the charges in bylaw court.

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