New Brunswick

Police release video of suspect starting fire at tent encampment in Saint John

Saint John police have released a video showing someone getting out of a car and quickly starting a fire at a homeless encampment on Sunday night.

Video shows what police say are potential suspects parking next to the encampment before burst of flames

Burnt tent encampment
Saint John Fire Platoon Chief Josh Hennessy said 12 firefighters arrived to find the tent in flames. (Rhythm Rathi/CBC)

Saint John police have released a video showing someone getting out of a car and quickly starting a fire at a homeless encampment on Sunday night.

In the video, a car carrying more than one person pulls up and parks along the curb next to the encampment between Exmouth and Waterloo streets that's managed by Fresh Start, a Saint John-based non-profit organization that provides support and advocacy for the homeless.

Then someone gets out on the passenger side of the vehicle and slips behind a fence.

There is a flash, a tent catches fire, and the person who had left the car dashes back to it. 

WATCH | Police release footage of encampment being set on fire: 

Saint John police release video of suspects involved in setting encampment fire

2 months ago
Duration 1:03
The major crime unit is seeking witnesses and other video footage to aid in the investigation of the fire on Exmouth Street Sunday night.

"There were four people inside this particular tent when it caught fire," said Staff Sgt. Sean Rocca.

"Witnesses had heard something hit the tent, saw a light, realized the tent had actually caught fire, and heard a vehicle speeding away."

Nobody from the tent was injured in the fire, he said.

Rocca said the footage was taken just after 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. The police received the video on Tuesday. 

"The actual cause of the fire is still under investigation … the fire happened quite quickly, so one can assume an accelerant was used but that still has yet to be determined," said Rocca. 

Rocca asked that anyone with information call police or Crime Stoppers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Philip Drost is a journalist with the CBC. You can reach him by email at philip.drost@cbc.ca.

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