A man has been arrested in connection with a string of 14 arsons that occurred throughout the city over the long weekend.
Robert Alan Ingram, 24, was arrested Tuesday and faces several charges after an investigation by the Winnipeg Police major crimes unit found several suspicious fires set between May 16 and May 18 were believed to be linked, police said Friday.
On the evening of May 16, Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Service (WFPS) was called to a fire in a shed behind the St. Boniface hospital, which was brought under control within 20 minutes, and did not spread to the hospital itself. The WFPS also responded to a fire in the 400 block of Aulneau Street the same day, which was discovered to be flammable liquid on fire in a back lane.
The next day, fire crews were called to a dumpster and two vehicle fires in the 500 block of Leila Avenue, and a small outdoor fire in the 2400 block of Main Street, both believed to be connected to Ingram.
The bulk of the offences occurred on May 18, and included; vehicle fires in the 500 block of Monroe Avenue, the 300 block of Poplar Avenue and 1700 block of Main Street; bin fires on Litz Place, the 400 block of Southhall Drive, the 500 block of Selkirk Avenue and the 500 block of Pritchard Avenue; a boat on a trailer set on fire on Hanna Street; an outdoor fire in the 300 block of Seven Oaks Avenue; and a structure fire at the Bleak House centre on Main Street.
Police said no injuries were reported at any of the incidents.
Ingram faces three counts of arson with disregard for human life, 18 counts of arson causing damage to property, 14 counts of possession of incendiary material, possession of an incendiary device, possession of a weapon and possession of methamphetamines.
He was detained in custody following his arrest.
On Friday, Winnipeg Police spokesperson Const. Rob Carver told media Ingram had interactions with police in the past, though not of a criminal nature.
Carver noted the location of the fires did not appear to have an underlying theme, and said he was not able to discuss potential motive as it could compromise trial proceedings.
Carver did note that police considered methamphetamines an "underlying issue" in the arsons.
Neither police nor WFPS were able to provide a total damage estimate from the fires, though Carver said the string of arsons "was a massive drain on resources."
The bulk of those resources were required at the fire at St. Boniface hospital, which included seven fire engines and a major incident response vehicle, a spokesperson for WFPS said in an email.
"It’s important to note that although many of these fires were small, they all had the potential to increase in size, threatening lives and property," the spokesperson added.
Julia-Simone Rutgers is a general-assignment reporter.