June 23rd, 2018

Cypress Way fire determined to be human-caused with gasoline

By Peggy Revell on June 14, 2018.

A city firefighter battles a garage fire June 5 on Cypress Way. Investigators have determined the fire to be from gasoline, and caused by people. No word has been given yet on what intent was behind the ignition.--NEWS FILE PHOTO


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A house fire in the Southview neighbourhood last week had a human cause, said Medicine Hat’s fire department, but exact details are still being confirmed.

“From our end it’s incendiary — someone lit the fire,” said Curtis Sjodin, a fire prevention officer with the Medicine Hat Fire Service, with samples sent away to confirm gasoline was involved.

Firefighters were called to the blaze at a Cypress Way residence on June 5 at 7:25 p.m.

Two youth were at the scene of the fire, confirmed Sjodin, and statements taken say one attempted to stomp out the fire and burned their two legs while doing so. Further attempts to put out the fire were prevented by a neighbour who wouldn’t allow them to go back inside due to the danger, he said.

Any fire that’s possibly suspicious — such as when lit by someone — is given to police to handle, Sjodin explained. Police then further investigate who lit the fire, and if there was actual intent.

The News contacted Medicine Hat police on Wednesday afternoon, but no one was available to provide comment on their part of the investigation.

When it comes to fire safety, Sjodin said it’s important to teach children and youth to not play with matches or lighters.

“As a reminder to parents, keep those out of reach from youth and teach them if they come across them to tell parents about them,” he said.

Under the Alberta Fire Code, general residential houses are only allowed to have 30 litres of gasoline stored in the garage.

“You should always store (gasoline) in proper jerry cans, proper containers, rated containers,” Sjodin said.

Follow basic safety precautions when fueling up things like lawnmowers, he said, such as doing so outside, being careful with fumes and cleaning up any spills.

“We always recommend that you store gasoline and flammable liquids in a shed or an outside container as opposed to in your house or an attached garage,” he said.

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