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Update: Arson charges laid against two youths over skatepark and school fires

RCMP allege teens broke into Innisfail Schools Campus and stole hand sanitizer to ignite fires
MVT Innisfail Middle School fire
Innisfail RCMP are reportedly investigating a small fire that was deliberately lit in a garbage can outside the Innisfail Middle School early Monday morning; about the same time a separate fire destroyed two porta potties at the Innisfail Skatepark. File Photo/MVP Staff

Editor's note: This article was updated June 22 to reflect the latest information provided by Innisfail RCMP.

INNISFAIL — Local Mounties have laid arson and break and enter charges against two youths in connection to the deliberately set early morning fires on June 20th at the Innisfail Skatepark and Innisfail Middle School.

In a news release issued on June 22, RCMP Cpl. Troy Savinkoff said the RCMP investigation into the fires has led to the arrest of two Innisfail youths, aged 15 and 16.

Both youths are jointly charged with two counts of arson and one count of break and enter.

Savinkoff said RCMP were able to determine the Innisfail Schools Campus, which includes Innisfail Middle School, had been broken into with a large jug of hand sanitizer stolen and used to start fires in a garbage can outside of the school, and a porta pottie at the skatepark.

He said both accused have been released from custody on conditions and are scheduled to appear at Red Deer provincial court on July 28.

Earlier this week Innisfail fire chief Gary Leith said at about 4 a.m. on June 20 the Innisfail Fire Department responded to calls that two porta potties were on fire at the Innisfail Skatepark, as well as a garbage can outside the Innisfail Middle School.

Leith said two fire department units were sent out to deal with both fires.

He said there were no injuries to any citizens or fire department personnel from either fire but the skatepark’s two porta potties were destroyed. Leith added the garbage can outside the school sustained heat damage.

The fire chief said it appeared the two fires were related and deliberately set.

“Two separate fires at the same time that were deliberately set, so the likelihood is that they were related, yes,” said Leith, adding Innisfail RCMP is investigating.

“It (fires) has been dealt with and obviously RCMP (is) investigating.”

A Chinook’s Edge School Division spokesperson said Innisfail RCMP has been working with officials at Innisfail Middle School about the garbage can fire at the corner of the school property.

Ken Kowalchuk, communications coordinator for the Town of Innisfail, said the two destroyed skatepark porta potties were the property of an outside Central Alberta company contractor.

He said the plan is to have another porta potty in place at the skatepark “hopefully” by the end of the week.