Photo: Toronto Police footage

Police looking for arson suspect

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Toronto police are looking to find the man responsible for a series of garbage fires around Ryerson and a three-alarm fire on George Street. Astoria Luzzi reports

Toronto police are looking for a suspect in relation to a series of garbage fires around campus and the Oct. 19 three-alarm fire near Dundas and Jarvis Streets.

The first incident was on Oct. 15 at 11:40 p.m. when police were called to 87 Gerrard St. East where a garbage can had been set on fire.

Over the course of the night, police were called to a total of three garbage fires on Gerrard Street.

There were three more incidents over the next two days, including dumpster and recycling fires. All incidents were discovered in the late hours of the night or early morning.

A news release from Toronto Police Services stated that nine more arsons were committed in the Gerrard Street East and Church Street areas between Oct. 19 and Nov. 1.

According to Tanya Fermin-Poppleton, manager of security and emergency services at Ryerson, the garbage fires were small enough to be put out by a fire extinguisher.

On Oct. 19, an abandoned brick heritage home at 295 George St. was the victim of a three-alarm blaze that required 75 firefighters to respond. Investigators believe the blaze is connected to the same person responsible for the garbage fires.

Police obtained a description of the suspected arsonist with the help of footage from a security camera near one of the garbage fires. The suspect is described as a man aged between 45 and 50, approximately 6 feet tall, with a medium build and a limp. The video footage shows the man strolling near a pile of black garbage bags for about a minute and a half, then bending down and setting it on fire.

Fermin said police are still looking for the suspect and, so far, a total of four fires on campus have been reported to police. The video footage is on YouTube and police are looking for tips that can help lead them to the suspect.

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