'It’s scary to think about': Pickering residents react to tow truck fire
TORONTO -- Another tow truck caught fire in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area Friday night — although there is no word at this point if an arsonist was responsible.
“It was just in flames,” one Pickering resident told CTV News Toronto.
Area residents say the fire broke out at a home on Elmsley Drive in North Pickering at around 10 p.m. Friday night.
“I came to the window because I saw fire trucks and all the lights, and there was just the hood of a pick-up truck on fire,” Kachelle Mortimer said, adding that not knowing the cause of the fire has left her on edge.
Durham Regional Police could not confirm Saturday whether or not the fire was deliberately set.
The incident follows a recent spate of tow truck fires in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area.
In late December, three tow trucks caught fire within thirty minutes of each other in North York. At around the same time, two other tow truck fires were also reported in Richmond Hill.
Meanwhile, two-and-a-half weeks ago, two more trucks caught fire within 24 hours of each other in York Region, and investigators say they’re being investigated as “suspicious”.
“It’s scary to think about it,” said tow truck operator Giuliano, who has been a driver for 11 years. He says this has never been an issue in Pickering.
“I’ve heard only from what’s on the news. That’s it. Down here we’ve got nothing going on with anybody, right? Everyone keeps to their selves. We do our job, and we go home.”
The Provincial Towing Association of Ontario has confirmed there is an ongoing, escalating turf war between towing operators in the GTHA, with several competitors vying to work the same areas.
The president of the association says over the last 18 months there has been a wave of arson, trucks have been shot at, drivers injured, and at least two men with ties to the industry have been killed.