Spike in house fires 'unsettling': Regina fire marshal

Fire Services says it's concerned about the increase in house fires around Regina over the last two years.

Fire Services says 50 per cent of house fires this winter are believed to be arson

Regina fire crews fought a blaze at 1432 Garnet St. on Feb. 29. (Brian Rogers/CBC)

The city of Regina is seeing an "unsettling" spike in fires, according to Regina's fire marshal. 

So far this winter Fire Services says its fought 53 house fires, 27 of which it says were deliberately set.

Last year, the number spiked by nearly 90 per cent from the previous year. 

Randy Ryba, Regina fire marshal, said the city is on track to match the same number of fires as last year. 

He said it's "remarkably unsettling" that so many of the fires are related to arson. 

"Some of it's revenge, some of it's acting out, some of it's with intent, there may be some gang involvement, I'm not really sure, but it's all over the map," he said.

Arson fires are a concern to Ryba because he says they put his firefighters and residents at risk. 

The age of people setting the fires is a concern to him as well. Fires have been set by children as young as five, he said. 

Another fire in North Central Monday

On Monday night fire crews were called to a fire at a vacant house in Regina's North Central neighbourhood.

The blaze was reported by a neighbour around 10:30 p.m CST. 

The home at 839 Cameron Street was fully involved when fire crews arrived minutes later. The fire was determined to be suspicious.

The house on Cameron Street was boarded up on Tuesday morning. (Samanda Brace/CBC)

The neighbourhood has seen many fires over the winter season. 

Resident Michelle Stark said it's a concern, but she tries not to worry about it too much. 

"If I worry about it and then I stress myself too much," Stark said. 

"Hopefully it doesn't come near us but it could happen."

Ryba said he hopes those setting the fires can be caught and counselled before more damage is done. 

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