WESTLOCK – A mid-December fire that destroyed a rural Vimy-area home, plus the theft of vehicle from the same property that day, remains under RCMP investigation.
Westlock County manager of protective services John Biro noted the Dec. 18 fire as part of his Jan. 18 report to councillors at their governance and priorities meeting. The Vimy blaze was one of three structure fires they dealt with last month, while in November county fire crews doused three abandoned vehicles that had been set ablaze — over those two months county crews also assisted on 11 motor vehicle accidents, while for the year the department handled 293 files.
In follow-up e-mails, Biro said crews responded to a Saturday-afternoon residential house fire in the southeast part of the county near Vimy and “a subsequent investigation determined a burglary took place while nobody was home.”
Westlock RCMP Staff Sgt. Al Baird confirmed Jan. 19 they attended the house fire around 12:10 p.m., Dec. 18, and found a stolen vehicle on the property. During the investigation police were told by the property owner that their vehicle had also been stolen and Baird confirmed it was later recovered by police in Edmonton.
“They needed to bring in an excavator to break through the walls to get to the fire, so the home was pretty much destroyed,” said Baird describing the scene.
Baird didn’t want to divulge much on the incident and said it remains under investigation.
“Now we have to piece everything together. Can we prove who it is, and did they commit arson, or what exactly happened?” Baird said. “So, we’re compiling all the evidence and there’s lab work being done and we’re following up on leads. We’re hoping to get things back quickly, but we do understand due to the pandemic that there may be delays getting things from the lab and we don’t currently have a timeline for when we’ll get those results back.”