Belmont residents told to remain alert after suspicious fires in the area
Elgin OPP say several fires in Belmont were intentionally set and are seeking the public's help to identify anyone involved.
Police say one of the fires could have had deadly consquences after a residence on Dyer Street caught fire on Sunday.
The lone occupant of the residence was able to get out safely in the early morning hours, but the home was destroyed by the blaze.
Neighbours Bryan Stevenson and his wife spotted the blaze about 2 a.m. and called 911. They helped the female homeowner escape.
"It makes you a little nervous, right - the way they set that fire.... It could have been way worse than what it was," says Stevenson.
Police and the Fire Marshal's Office are continuing to investigate and believe the fire to have been intentionally set in the garage area of the residence.
The century home had just been completely renovated and damage estimates have not yet been determined.
While still on scene at the residential fire, a call came in about a barn fire in the area of Belmont Road and Wilson Line.
The barn was destroyed by the fire.
As well, police continue to investigate a backyard porch fire at a residence on Lorne Street in Belmont that they believe was set ablaze sometime between Aug. 4 and 11.
The homeowner, Robert Hopf, says damage was minimal and he got off lucky.
"We were away on holidays and I was back home, like three days before I even noticed it. It burned itself out or whatever happened, I don't know, but it went out. Could have taken the whole house, but it didn't," he says.
OPP Const. Troy Carlson says police believe these fires aren't just coincidences.
"We want to let the public know to be alert, report any suspicious activity with people or things that they see. At this juncture we certainly have increased patrols, both marked and unmarked police officers conducting foot patrols. Our crime unit has been engaged to try and determine the person or persons responsible."
Insp. Brad Fishleigh, Elgin's detachment commander says police are extremely concerned.
"These incidents are very serious and costly and in the case of the residential fire on Dyer Street could have been deadly."