Officials attempt to calm fears that Red Deer has an arson problem

The question of whether arson is a major problem in Red Deer is being raised after two intentionally set fires destroyed several homes in the last month.

The question of whether arson is a major problem in Red Deer is being raised after two intentionally set fires destroyed several homes in the last month.

The City of Red Deer has indicated that arson is much more prevalent than statistics indicate, noting that 27 per cent of all destructive fires in Red Deer are intentionally set.

The city states under its Target Arson information that mischief is behind nearly half of all cases of intentionally set fires in Red Deer.

In the case of the two most recent fires, classified as arson — the first in Vanier Woods on May 5 and the second in Southbrook on May 25 — homes under construction were targeted by the suspect(s).

“It is a lot when you consider the population and the similarities in that they were homes under construction,” Cpl. Kathy DeHeer said on Friday.

“That is a lot with the short time in between and it does raise a lot of concern.”

While DeHeer says it is understandable that questions are being raised, she also says that there hasn’t been an “abundance” of intentionally set fires in Red Deer in the past.

“It is not a charge that we see a lot of,” she said.

“We haven’t had anything like this happen in quite some time.

There haven’t been a whole lot of large fires that are the result of criminal activity.”

Red Deer City RCMP were called to Viscount Drive in the Vanier Woods neighbourhood at around 12:30 a.m. on May 5 and arrived to find a home under construction on fire.

Witnesses told police they spotted four people running away from the area. An RCMP canine team was called out to the scene and discovered a second home under construction on fire a short distance away on Voisin Close.

The first house sustained major damage to the interior while damage to the second house was contained to an attached garage. Two 16-year-old males were located nearby, arrested and charged with arson. They cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act but are expected to appear in Red Deer provincial court on June 7.

Red Deer City RCMP continue to investigate the most recent fire they believe to be intentionally set in Southbrook. The early-morning blaze demolished three homes and damaged two others on Sisson Avenue. The damage was estimated at over $1 million.

The inferno originated from a home under construction and spread to two newly-built homes on either side that were occupied by families. No injuries were reported.

DeHeer says that arsons are handled much like other crimes but they do enlist the services of their Forensic Identification Unit.

“We are always concerned about fires because there is a huge potential of many things to go wrong. They endanger the lives of many people.”

Barry Wulff, fire prevention officer with the City of Red Deer, wouldn’t say if they were seeing arson on the rise in Red Deer, just that all fires are concerning to the fire prevention branch.

He provided some tips to eliminate arson.

Get to know your neighbours, report suspicious activity, clean up property and yard of material that an arsonist could use to start a fire and secure windows and doors of homes and sheds.

Police are asking for the public’s assistance with the Southbrook blaze.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Red Deer City RCMP at 403-343-5575.

If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or visit If the information leads to an arrest, tipsters are eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000.

Just Posted

Rebels drop home opener to Oil Kings

The Edmonton Oil Kings were simply better than the Red Deer Rebels… Continue reading

Diesel spilled in Penhold neighbourhood

Penhold Fire Department responded

House fire in Penhold

Damage estimated at $30,000

Red Deer Players host play reading for public

Audience feedback for playwright

Sylvan Lake cleanup cancelled

Weather prompts cancellation

RDC Kings topple Medicine Hat College Rattlers

Kings Matheus Alves scores twice in the win

Nurse leads Canada over South Korea 82-63 at FIBA Women’s World Cup

TENERIFE, Spain — Kia Nurse poured in 29 points to lift Canada… Continue reading

Aretha Franklin exhibit debuts with eye toward her legacy

DETROIT — The Detroit museum that hosted Aretha Franklin’s public visitations after… Continue reading

‘Anaana’s Tent’ passes Inuit songs, legends, language to a new generation

In Pangnirtung, Nunavut, on the eastern tip of Baffin Island, Rita Claire… Continue reading

Housing data decision opens door to real estate innovation, say realtors

TORONTO — Realtor Daniel Steinfeld has wanted to post home sales data… Continue reading

Ty Long kicks winning field goal, Lions come back to beat Ticats in OT

VANCOUVER — Ty Long was eager for a special moment, and he… Continue reading

Indigenous eateries take centre stage in Canada thanks to increasing awareness

VANCOUVER — Since Paul Natrall started serving Indigenous cuisine from his Mr.… Continue reading

Canada’s capital region reeling after intense tornado rips through communities

OTTAWA — Parts of Canada’s national capital were still reeling Saturday after… Continue reading

Coaches, players on Alberta university rugby team buckle up for the Broncos

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — The head coach of the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns… Continue reading

Most Read