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A volunteer Mayerthorpe firefighter is suspected of igniting a string of fires around the town, including a blaze that ruined a wooden CN Rail bridge Tuesday.

Lawson Michael Schalm, 19, is charged with 18 matters of arson in connection with a recently available rash of fires, RCMP said Saturday-night.

“The community’s in surprise today, ” Mayerthorpe Mayor Kate Patrick stated. “They’re thrilled to understand that someone has-been apprehended, but they’re definitely in surprise concerning which its.”

Schalm did as a volunteer firefighter with the Mayerthorpe Fire Department, Patrick said. His father Albert was mayor of this city for 3 years, and from now on functions as a school trustee using north Gateway college district, Patrick stated.

The Tuesday CN bridge fire was so intense that Lac Ste. Anne County firefighters called in provincial forest firefighters, an environment tanker and a helicopter to stop the blaze from dispersing to the surrounding woods.

The resulting thick plume of black smoke prompted the evacuation of two Mayerthorpe schools and a nearby trailer park. The damaged train website link has actually caused logistical headaches for a few regional companies.

RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Sharon Franks stated there has been significantly more than 20 fires inside Mayerthorpe location over the last thirty day period. More charges might be pending, Franks stated.

All the present blazes being lawn fires, Patrick stated.

On Friday, firefighters responded to five fires, she said. Four were in the early hours associated with morning, including two brush fires on activities grounds, one out of a river area, and another on the town’s main street. That afternoon, there were flames again regarding lake lender, Patrick stated.

- associated: RCMP investigating several suspicious fires since Tuesday's trestle bridge fire near Mayerthorpe

A paramedic discovered, and extinguished, another small fire nearby the local legion hallway. Firefighters also responded to spot fires nearby the trestle bridge before Tuesday’s spectacular blaze.

Schalm ended up being involved in the cadets, college theatre productions, and teenager medication usage prevention programs inside the neighborhood, Patrick said. A Mayerthorpe Freelancer article from 2014 claims cadets can volunteer with the fire department who are only age 15, and can begin giving an answer to fire phone calls whenever they’re 17.

Mayerthorpe’s fire chief couldn’t be reached Saturday night.

Franks stated Schalm had not been previously proven to police. In custody on Saturday-night, Schalm is a result of appear in Stony Plain Provincial Court on Wednesday.

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