A church and a carpet store were among the structures damaged by three suspicious fires in downtown Kelowna between Friday night and Saturday morning.
Deputy Fire Chief Thomas Doherty said that a church in the 1100 block of Springfield Road was the first structure hit, just before midnight. Fifteen firefighters responded to the call and were able to contain the blaze.
"Damage was contained primarily to the exterior of the building where the fire appears to have originated in a garbage bin," Doherty said.
The second suspicious fire started less than an hour later. At 12:41 a.m. PT, the same firefighting force responded to 325 Banks Rd., where the rear of a strip mall was on fire.
"Upon arrival at the scene crews determined that the fire was quickly extending into the main building which houses a carpet store," Doherty noted.
The force decided to bring in two ladder trucks and additional engines and personnel.
"At the height of the fire over 40 firefighters worked to save neighbouring businesses," Doherty said. Some of the business were only separated by a firewall from the burning store.
"The fire appears to have originated at the rear of the building and is deemed as suspicious," he added.
The long night for firefighters was not over.
Nearby, in the 400 block of Banks Road, another suspicious fire was spotted. It was contained to some garbage bins and nearby wood pallets. It was discovered at around 3:20 a.m. and quickly doused.
Banks Road and Baron Road were closed through Saturday morning as crews continued to battle hot spots at the strip mall.
Police are seeking information from witnesses or anyone with tips on the origins of the suspicious fires.
An earlier fire in the evening, inside a garage, was not considered deliberately set. In that case, a tractor caught fire inside a garage. Two engines and 11 firefighters responded to that call, around 8 p.m.