Teen deliberately set on fire at Kelowna party
CTV British Columbia
Published Thursday, December 13, 2012 10:16AM PST
Last Updated Thursday, December 13, 2012 7:26PM PST
An 18-year-old is recovering in hospital from severe burns after being doused with accelerant and set ablaze at a Kelowna house party.
Authorities believe the victim was passed out on the kitchen floor of a run-down townhouse when he was deliberately set on fire Friday night.
Mounties said one man lit the fire while another filmed the incident on a cell phone. It’s so far unclear whether the attack was part of an ill-conceived prank or a deliberate attempt to harm the teenager.
“We received notification that a man was being treated with second [and] third-degree burns on the afternoon of Saturday,” RCMP Const. Kris Clark told CTV News.
Two men have been arrested and charged with aggravated assault in the incident: Matthew Sweet-Grant, 20, and Joshua McWhirter, 18. Both men remain in custody.
Investigators now suspect Sweet-Grant has participated in similar assaults in the past, and are asking potential witnesses to come forward.
“Information obtained through the course of our investigation has led us to believe this isn’t the first time,” Clark said.
Pictures posted on Sweet-Grant’s Facebook page show about a dozen people with various parts of their bodies or clothing in flames. It appears the people involved are all willing participants.
Authorities say nobody at Friday’s party called 911 to report the incident. They only learned of the alleged assault after the young man turned up in hospital the next day.
Neighbour Dale Peake told CTV News he saw a verbal altercation the night of the party.
“It sounded like there was going to be a fight, but there didn’t appear to be one. They just seemed to be really drunk or upset,” Peak said.
Though charges have already been laid, police are asking anyone with information on the alleged assault or any other potentially similar attacks to contact them at 250-762-3300.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Kent Molgat