Lake Country police investigating suspicious fires

Two fires at Gatzke Orchard overnight Monday and a third at Kalwood Farms that didn't take hold, deemed suspicious by fire officials

Lake Country RCMP are investigating three separate fires that have been deemed suspicious by the Lake Country Fire Department.

Lake Country fire crews were called to Gatzke Orchards in Oyama overnight on Monday after two fires broke out on the Gatzke property and a separate fire failed to take hold on nearby Kalwood Farms.

Deputy fire chief Brent Penner said the two fires on the Gatzke property have been ruled suspicious after the fire department investigation adding it appears the third fire was also deliberately set and related.

The fire department received the call about 10:30 p.m. on Monday night.

“Within the area of the originating fire and the second fire, neither one had anything around them that would start a fire and both were deemed suspicious,” said Penner. “We went back (Tuesday) doing our investigation and we found that there was a third fire near Kalwood Farms around the same time as the other ones occurred although it didn’t catch on and self-extinguished.”

Penner said there was a lot of damage done in the first fire, which was set in an outbuilding situated between two storage containers at Gatzke Orchards. The heat from the fire transferred through the metal walls of the container and ignited merchandise that was inside. Most of what was inside, valued in the thousands of dollars, was either burned or suffered smoke damage, according to Penner.

Gatzke Orchards owner Allan Gatzke said it was tough to feel as if the property was targeted but he was happy to have the support of the community, several of which were on the scene helping before fire crews arrived.

“Credit to our neighbours and relatives that came out and saw it and arrived here ahead of the fire department,” said Gatzke. “They were able to get the fires out before there was more damage. Everything could have gone up. It was heart-warming in a stressful time to see the response of the community.”

The RCMP are continuing to investigate.

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