Prince George Fire Rescue saw a 22% spike in service calls during 2022, compared to the year prior.
That’s according to a report that’s expected to be tabled at the Regional District of Fraser Fort-George’s board meeting on Thursday.
In an interview with Vista Radio, Fire Chief Cliff Warner said while the city did see a large spike in structure fires late in the year, there is nothing to suggest an arsonist is on the loose.
“They do ebb and flow and sometimes they come in patterns of numbers but there is no pattern to suggest that there is anything specific happening. They are general, randomized fires that just happened to be an increase of what we would see year-to-year in the fall.”
“In these instances, there were not necessarily any patterns. It wasn’t like there were arsonists going around lighting buildings on fire – we did have some instances where there were residential structure fires and in most cases, they were undetermined as per the nature of the fire,” added Warner.
“There was an instance where an owner went to plug their vehicle in to keep it warm and a fire ensued that consumed the vehicle and created damage on the home.”
Of the 9,880 calls for service last year, just over 60% were for medical emergencies while just 26.5% were fire-related.
In 2021, local fire rescue responded to 8,087 calls.
To mitigate the rising number of calls, Warner is looking to streamline and more evenly distribute call volumes at the city’s four fire halls in 2023.
“One of the key pieces we have been working on recently is the actual construction of the new fire hall and the movement of that Firehall to a more strategic location. One of the things we are focusing on assessing right now is how our four fire halls respond, where they respond and making some shifts to flatten that call volume so it is distributed more evenly.”