2 properties set ablaze in Matlock, fire official says
'Gas pails and splashed gas' found at scene on Chalet Beach Road where fire set
Buildings on two separate properties in Matlock, Man., were intentionally set on fire Tuesday morning, a fire official says.
"They're connected, for sure," said Rick Warner, volunteer deputy chief at the Matlock Fire Hall located about 60 kilometres north of Winnipeg. He said "gas pails and splashed gas" were found by investigators.
Charlie McPherson was out on Warner Road at first light conducting a bird survey for the Lake Winnipeg Foundation when he saw smoke in the air in the distance.
"I thought maybe it was farmers burning a field or somebody burning garbage, but the smoke plumes were [moving] so fast so I thought, 'Maybe somebody's house on fire?'" he said.
He drove over to the source at about 5:45 a.m. and found flames shooting from a storage container on a property on Chalet Beach Road.
Two fires were set at another property on Chalet Beach Road a short time later, this one on the edge of Lake Winnipeg.
"I finished phoning in the first fire and went back to Warner Road to finish my bird counts, and then I noticed the second plume of smoke," McPherson said.
"This one was a real black one.... Sure enough it was another building on fire, completely ablaze."
McPherson noticed the second set of fires at 7:15 a.m., and by the time he arrived, a neighbour in the area had already called the fire department.
A shed near the lakeshore on that property was engulfed in flames when he arrived. There was a stack of plywood sheets leaning against a cottage on the property that was also set on fire.
"Thankfully the fire department got there on time to extinguish that fire, the third fire, in time to save the cottage," McPherson said.
No one was injured in the fires, Warner said, and investigators remained at the scene for hours on Tuesday morning.