Nfld. & Labrador

Stephenville Crossing offers $500 for information on bird habitat fire

The mayor of the small town on Newfoundland's west coast is offering a reward to catch those responsible for the Tuesday night fire.

Mayor Lisa Lucas said fire was set in an area known as the prairie

Stephenville Crossing Mayor Lisa Lucas snapped this photo after being called about a fire in the middle of town. (Lisa Lucas)

The mayor of a small town on the west coast of Newfoundland has had enough with illegal activity and is offering a $500 reward to catch whoever started a Tuesday night fire near a bird habitat.

A grassy area known as "the prairie" was set afire after sundown in Stephenville Crossing. According to Mayor Lisa Lucas, it's a nesting area for birds.

"I guess you can say I got pretty angry when I looked at the blaze, because adjacent to the prairie are a lot of businesses that are on Main Street," Lucas said.

Luckily, the fire didn't spread to the businesses, but Lucas said it did have an impact on wildlife.

"All I could hear when I got there last night was the ducks," she said. "It was a sin to hear the ducks, because that's where they are nesting."

This is a view of the area affected by fire in Stephenville Crossing, in a photo taken by the town's mayor. (Lisa Lucas)

Lucas said she got a call from a nearby resident on Tuesday night who saw multiple fires set in the area, and saw kids running away from the scene.

It's the second fire in the same area in a month, she said, and they know who is responsible. It's just a matter of having someone come forward and say they saw the kids in the act of setting the fire.

Lucas took the Facebook on Tuesday night, posting pictures of the fire and information about the reward offered.

I don't like it giving the town a bad name.- Mayor Lisa Lucas

"Once I hit the button and posted that reward, my phone blew up with other youth saying who it was," she said.

The mayor hopes this results in criminal charges for the youth — or something to dissuade them from future reckless behaviour.

Stephenville Crossing has a bad reputation, she said, but it's a small minority of people causing problems.

"I don't like it giving the town a bad name, or giving the kids at the Crossing a bad name," she said.

Lucas said the town is putting up more security cameras, equipped with night vision, in hopes of deterring illegal activities, or catching people in the act.

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With files from Newfoundland Morning