Arson suspect sought following early-evening fire

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) are looking for an individual suspected of arson following a fire on Bonaventure Avenue early Wednesday evening.

Shortly after 5:00 p.m. multiple calls were received by St. John’s Regional Fire Department (SJRFD) alerting fire crews to a blaze behind a residence at the corner of Bonaventure Avenue and Harvey Road. When crews first arrived a few minutes later they found heavy fire and smoke coming from a back deck of the home. Firefighters were able to quickly bring the blaze under control, preventing its spread into the eave of the home. A small gazebo attached to the deck of the home was completely destroyed, while the home sustained mostly superficial damage.

Through their investigation, the RNC have determined the cause of the fire to be arson. Late Tuesday evening police released a photo, obtained through CCTV footage, of a person suspected of arson in relation to the blaze.

The RNC is asking anyone with information to contact them at 729-8000 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477). You can also provide information anonymously on the NL Crime Stoppers website. The RNC have not yet confirmed if there is a connection to three previous fires that were also deemed suspicious in nature.

SJRFD Platoon Chief Mike Hall credited firefighters with being able to douse the flames, which could be seen from Signal Hill, before the home sustained substantial damage. Hall also recognized the home’s close proximity to Central Fire Station, less than half a kilometre away, as a contributing factor in the speedy knock-down.

The building, known as The Observatory, was built in the 1800’s. It survived the Great Fire of 1892, and was designated a heritage building in 1994.

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