The Northeast Avalon area was on wheels this weekend – but not just with the major music events going on with Random Sound Music Festival and the Eastbound Hoedown.
There were fires going up all weekend, even into Tuesday morning.
“Every fire is deemed suspicious until the investigation into its cause is complete,” said Deputy Fire Chief Don Byrne, with the St. John’s Regional Fire Department.
They’ve been kept busy responding to all the reported incidents over the past few days – and using their full arsenal on a rather insolent house fire on Goodridge Street in central St. John’s.
That Goodridge Street fire attracted a lot of attention, as onlookers crowded the street all evening while firefighters battled the blaze for close to four hours, and three were sent to hospital to be treated for heat exhaustion (they’ve since been released).
A fire may just be a fire, and purely coincidence that there were so many hotspots to be stomped out over a short period.
Or there may be more to the story, as Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Constable Steve Curnew said, the recent fires in central St. John’s are being looked at as particularly suspicious.
Shortly after a fairly minor house fire in Mount Pearl on Saturday afternoon, firefighters were at an entirely different scene of a house fire on Goodridge Street.
Deputy Chief Byrne says that fire started in the basement, and quickly went up through the house – which just burned, and burned, and burned.
Neighbours on Goodridge Street said there was a significant fire there three years ago, and it had just recently been re-done.
No one was in the house at the time of the fire, and neighbours said the owner has been gone for a couple weeks, but people have been coming and going for quite some time.
The house was destroyed by the fire, and will be torn down.
Const. Curnew said police investigators are definitely looking at arson as the cause of Saturday’s house fire on Goodridge St., as they rule out other possibilities.
“For example, there was no power to the house on Goodridge Street so they know it’s not an electrical fire,” said Curnew.
He said police are looking at another fire in the area, early Saturday morning at an abandoned home on Beaumont Street, as a potential case of arson as well. Damage in that fire was minor.
And just after midnight Monday, there was a fire at a home on Boncloddy Street – also in central St. John’s. Coupled with a shed fire at the house next door early Saturday morning. Police have deemed the Boncloddy Street fires suspicious as well.
Boncloddy Street has been the home of some recent controversy, as a woman has expressed interest in re-opening the Sports Bar on that street, to the opposition of some neighbours. The bar was a neighbourhood institution for decades until it closed last year – making the street a much better environment, according to some residents.
The R.N.C. are asking anyone who may have any information on those four centre-city fires to contact them at 729-8000 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).