Arson charge laid in Oakmont house fire
Last year the second worst in last 10 for fires in St. Albert
By: Peter Boer
| Posted: Friday, Jan 04, 2013 03:45 pm
The RCMP have laid one charge of arson against a man for allegedly setting fire to his own home last Saturday.
On Dec. 29, hours after responding to a fire at Braeside Presbyterian Church, the St. Albert fire department was called to a house fire at 19 Oak Point. They promptly requested the RCMP fire investigator attend the scene, as the department was unable to determine a specific cause.
After an investigation that involved the fire department, four different RCMP sections and a private company that uses dogs to detect the presence of flammable liquid, the RCMP charged Jabbar Jahanroshan with one count of arson – own property, under the criminal code.
Section 434.1 of the code makes it an offence to set fire to one’s own property if the fire or explosion threatens the health, safety or property of another person.
Cpl. Laurel Kading confirmed Jahanroshan was the owner of the home.
“It was the man who was at the scene of the fire when the fire department arrived,” Kading said.
A press release distributed by the RCMP shortly after the fire stated that the family that lived at 19 Oak Point was away on vacation except for one man, which the RCMP say was Jahanroshan. It also stated he was taken to hospital for examination for smoke inhalation and was later discharged.
Jahanroshan will make his first appearance in St. Albert provincial court on Feb. 4.
Les Mroz, fire investigator with the St. Albert fire department, said the estimate of damage to the home has since been adjusted from $250,000 to more than $500,000. There was little else he could add.
“This matter is the subject of a criminal investigation,” Mroz said.
The total fire losses in the city are pegged at nearly $3 million for 2012, making it the second worst year in the last decade. Up until last week, which saw three separate structure fires totalling $1.4 million in fire losses, total loss to date totalled $1.5 million, said Fire Chief Ray Richards.
“Those (last three) fires doubled our fire losses for the entire year,” Richards said.
The city totalled almost $4 million in fire losses in 2005, but a substantial amount of that total came from the destruction of the Lacombe Park Estates condo complex in December of that year, the losses from which totalled approximately $3.5 million.
Richards said there have been more fires this year than in any other in recent memory, but said St. Albert is merely catching up to trends in municipalities of similar sizes after several years of few fires.
“It appears we just caught up with the rest of Alberta,” Richards said. “Definitely the trend has continued and it was probably one of those rare occurrences. Fires do happen and people need to be careful.”
Richards also said the occurrence of two fires on Dec. 29 marked the first time in years the department has had to respond to two structure fires in such a short period of time. He said the city’s resources were stretched significantly, which is why a fire truck from Morinville was called in to assist.
Richards, however, is confident St. Albert has all the resources it needs.
“Things worked out pretty well with the resources that were there,” he said. “We don’t anticipate changing. We have to deal with it using the resources we have.”