Police, fire officials won’t say if two Mount Forest fires are suspicious

Two most recent fires occurred within 15 minutes of each other on July 10

MOUNT FOREST – Two more fires have occurred in Mount Forest, following a string of suspicious fires in the town early last month.

The most recent fires occurred on July 10 within 15 minutes of each other, according to a Wellington OPP press release received at 7:20pm on July 11 following an Advertiser inquiry earlier that day.

It’s unclear why police did not advise media about the Monday night fires until reports from the public appeared on social media, and this newspaper inquired about it the following day.

Wellington North Fire Service deputy chief Callise Loos stated in an email the incidents are considered minor and didn’t meet the fire service’s threshold for issuing a press release.

According to the police account, an officer on patrol saw a trailer on fire at a Durham Street residence around 11:15pm on July 10.

No other details about the fire were included in the release.

Loos stated 10 volunteer firefighters in two trucks responded to a flatbed trailer fire called in by police.

She stated there was no property loss or injuries, and a damage estimate wasn’t provided.

A second fire was reported 15 minutes later, at around 11:30pm on July 10.

Police “responded to a report of a trailer on fire on Perth Street,” the release states.

The Advertiser confirmed the latter fire involved a Wellington Produce Packaging storage trailer.

An official at the business confirmed there were no injuries and stated the fire department responded quickly to prevent the fire from spreading.

In her email, Loos wrote the same firefighters attending the first call also responded to the second. No injuries or property loss were reported.

Loos deferred other questions to police, including inquiries about if the fires are considered suspicious.

“It’s an ongoing investigation so I can’t comment,” Loos wrote.

Wellington OPP spokesperson Jacob Unger acknowledged questions from a reporter seeking more information, but responses weren’t received as of publishing.

June fires

The recent incidents follow a string of suspicious fires that occurred between June 4 and 7.

In the June 4 incidents, a storage building at Wellington Produce Packaging on Sligo Road was destroyed by fire, a Cork Street family awoke to find their shed and car ablaze, and a yard waste bag was found on fire at a Colcleugh Avenue residence.

All the fires occurred in relative close proximity to each other in the early morning hours on June 4 between 2:48 and 4am, according to information from police.

Another fire on June 7, at around 5pm, involved an abandoned box truck that was set ablaze in a field off Sligo Road East.

A unnamed local teenager has been charged with arson in connection to that fire, but the charge has not been proven in court.

The Youth Criminal Justice Act protects the identity of youths accused of committing a crime by prohibiting the publishing of names and identifying information.

Wellington OPP have not provided any updates on the ongoing investigation into the fires and it’s unknown if any of the incidents are related.

Anyone with information about the fires, including surveillance footage, can contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122.

Those wanting to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or submit a tip online at www.csgw.tips.