Lee M. Wilding, 19, of Castlegar appeared in Castlegar Provincial Court on Wednesday, March 26 in relation to three arson-related charges resulting from a fire at the Kinnaird Church of God on March 18. Wilding had been taken into police custody at about 6 o’clock the morning following the arson, in which damage had been estimated at $200,000.
Wilding, convicted approximately a year ago of arson involving the St. Rita’s Church sanctuary and a vehicle in the Kinnaird area, is reportedly entering pleas of not guilty and will remain in custody until his next appearance, set for Wednesday, April 16 at Castlegar Provincial Court.
Castlegar Fire Chief Gerry Rempel has issued a press release outlining a call out his department answered just before midnight on Tuesday, March 18.
Firefighters were called to “a structure fire at the Kinnaird Church of God in the 2400 block of Columbia Avenue shortly after 11:30 PM. The fire was contained to the basement area with smoke damage throughout resulting in a preliminary estimate of $200,000.00. Nineteen firefighters and three pumpers attended. There were no injuries.
A subsequent news release from Castlegar RCMP informed that they had identified a possible suspect and had 1 male in custody.
Police are still looking to speak with any witnesses to this incident, and anyone with information is asked to call the Castlegar RCMP at (250)365-7721 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.