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Firefighters and EPS deal with multiple garbage bin arsons

Fire crews were called to three garbage bin fires in the central area of Estevan
Estevan Fire Rescue building
The Estevan Fire Rescue Service respond to several calls this week

ESTEVAN - Estevan firefighters were called to garbage bin fires in the same area multiple times recently.

One of the calls came on Monday at about 10:30 p.m. The report stated that a garbage bin fire was occurring in the central area of the city. Crews arrived on the scene to find that a smaller style garbage bin, suitable for the single-family dwelling was on fire, which consumed all contents by the time firefighters made it there. The fire was safely extinguished.

"We're working with EPS (Estevan Police Service) as this was the second such call within a week's time in the same area. So Estevan Police Service was assisting to see if there was any suspicious activity around in the area," said Estevan Fire Chief Dale Feser.

"The first fire was deemed as a careless discarding of smoking materials such as cigarette butts in the recycling bin on the property. And now that we had a second one go off, it raised a few red flags here as to what exactly was going on around there."

On Wednesday at about 9:45 p.m. fire crews were called to another garbage bin fire occurring at the same location.

"Obviously our red flags were true," Feser said.

"We're continuing to look into investigating the cause and individuals involved with these particular fires."

This time the fire was contained to another bin. All garbage bins were removed from the property. The public is asked to report any suspicious activity they notice in the area.

"We're asking the public to keep an eye out in this area, in the central area of the city, right along Seventh Street, to see if there's anybody that's milling around … the garbage cans that doesn't belong there. Please make sure that you're contacting the Estevan city police as soon as possible. So that way they can continue to investigate and possibly catch the culprits that are involved with these particular nuisance fires," Feser said.

"It is unlawful and a crime to set any fire intentionally."

The investigation is ongoing.

Tuesday afternoon fire crews were alerted to a residential smoke alarm that went off in the north-central part of Estevan. Crews arrived and contacted the homeowner. It was found that it was a cooking-related incident. With not enough smoke in the building for any further actions, the place was turned back over to the owner.

"Again, a reminder to make sure that you're contacting your monitoring agencies and ensuring that you are the first point of contact for residential homes," Feser said.

On Wednesday at about 3:45 p.m. firefighters responded to a motor vehicle collision that occurred at the intersection of Thirteenth Avenue and King Street. There were no injuries, and Feser said the accident was minor.

On Thursday at about 1:15 p.m., firefighters were called out to a commercial property in the east area of the city, where a fire alarm went off. However, they were quickly updated that there was a maintenance crew on site, testing the fire alarm system, and no emergency was occurring. Crews stood down and no further response was mounted to this location.

Tuesday night firefighters also discussed plans for Fire Prevention Week.

"Sadly, with this year's Fire Prevention Week and the new COVID restrictions that are in place, we're going to be really handcuffed and limited to what we're going to be able to do here again," Feser said. "We are going to be sharing a lot of information on social media. So we hope that everybody gets the opportunity to take a look at that and feel free to share it around."

This year's theme is Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety, focusing on what smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms sound like, what to do and how to know the difference in the beeps when a battery is going low to make sure that devices are always functioning properly.