Woman charged with arson in connection with daycare, dental office fires in Fort Saskatchewan

A 33-year-old woman has been charged with four counts of arson and breach of probation in connection with several fires in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., this year and last year.

“Fire can go out of control very quickly and significant property loss — and unfortunately injuries and death — can result,” said Insp. Barry Larocque.

RCMP said April Beth Oleksyn, a Fort Saskatchewan resident, was charged.

Six dumpsters were set on fire on Feb. 5, 2023, near 99 Avenue and 99 Street in Fort Saskatchewan.

While investigating those fires, RCMP got video footage and identified and arrested a suspect.

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RCMP said further investigation made Oleksyn a suspect in the Aug. 14, 2022, arson of a daycare and dental office on 104 Street and 99 Avenue.

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“The video surveillance showing how the dumpster was lit on fire provided context to the Aug. 14, 2022, arson at the daycare and dental office in Fort Saskatchewan, resulting in investigators having reasonable and probable grounds to believe the same suspect intentionally started both fires,” Larocque said.

“The origin of the fire was a dumpster in front of the businesses, which engulfed the building quickly. The result was a multi-million-dollar property loss, but fortunately, no injuries.”

Oleskyn has been remanded into custody and is scheduled to appear in court next on Feb. 9.

The investigations into the other recent arsons are ongoing,” RCMP said.

Larocque said that between January 2022 and January 2023 there were approximately 15 nuisance fires in Fort Saskatchewan.

“The nuisance fires consisted of garbage bins, dumpsters, an outhouse, public toilet facilities and a few grass or bush fires,” he said. “It’s believed that Oleskyn is not responsible for all these occurrences.”

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He said Oleskyn is known to Fort Saskatchewan RCMP.

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