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Saskatoon: Several persons charged with arson

The city has a Fire Stop program for youth offenders.
The Saskatoon Police Service has an investigator assigned to take on arson cases in its General Investigations Section.

SASKATOON — Charges of arson have been filed against several persons in connection to fires deemed suspicious by Saskatoon Fire Department investigators.

SFD coordinates and turns over the cases to the Saskatoon Police Service if the fires they responded to are suspect in nature after the fire investigator's cause and origin examination.

Last month, then SFD Acting Assistant Fire Chief Brian Conway said they have always worked closely with SPS when it comes to suspicious fires.

“[SPS] is contacted when a fire becomes suspicious after our investigator finds evidence. SPS is brought in because of the cause and origin of determination,” Conway told

SPS Public Relations and Strategic Communications coordinator Joshua Grella said their General Investigations Section received 25 cases from SFD.

Those cases are from Jan. 1 to July 6 of this year where 20 of the fires turned over to SPS by SFD were deemed incendiary in nature. SPS is still investigating seven other incidents.

The SFD’s investigators, from June 4 to July 19, had also turned over 12 incidents to SPS five involved garages, two sheds catching fire and several that began from dumpsters.

All fires had a combined estimated amount of damage close to $500,000 with several cars also being involved in some of the incidents.

Grella said, in a span of almost seven months, seven persons were charged with arson for nine of the occurrences while two more were indicted for more than one incident in that same period.

There were also four youth fire starters in about two occurrences and they were diverted to the Fire Stop program by the SFD.

The program is the city’s initiative to intervene and address incidents where children, who are under the age of 17, have set fires or are drawn to playing with fire.

Grella said SPS usually has one member assigned to GIS who is focused on investigating arson-related cases while others are also trained but arson is not their focus.

“There is a police response to all major fires when they are deemed to be incendiary; arson investigators conduct their investigations as a criminal matter based on the evidence available,” said Grella.

“At times, an initial investigation is carried out by Patrol before the involvement of arson investigators,” he added.