Barrie fire that leaves six people homeless, deemed suspicious
Published Monday, October 2, 2017 7:30PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 4, 2017 3:45PM EDT
A fire that broke out at a rooming house in Barrie on Sunday, which left six people homeless, has now been deemed suspicious.
On Monday the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal was at the scene on Owen Street, searching for answers. Residents also returned to the area, trying to make sense of the situation.
Jacob Bouckner had only lived in his Owen Street home for a month. Sunday’s fire destroyed everything he owned, leaving his belongings inside a charred building filled with ashes.
“It’s traumatizing”, he said on Monday. “You never expect for this to happen. It’s my first place. Didn’t think something like this would ever happen to me.”
Neighbours called 911 when the early morning fire broke out.
No one was hurt, and investigators believe the fire started in a shared kitchen. The cause is still unclear.
“The kitchen has potential for several different sources of ignition, so they would rule those out individually, one by one,” says David Lalonde, an investigator with the Barrie Fire Department. “They did manage to rule some out, but others they couldn’t determine yet. They still must have the test results to come back from forensics.”
While the building is badly damaged, some people residents told CTV News today, the loss brings some relief.
“I would say it was more drug related,” says neighbour Bruce Cox. “Nobody was unhappy this house caught fire, because of the dealings going on.”
Police won’t confirm if the house was known for drug activity. However, they did say they were called to the area often.
“We do receive calls to this house,” says Barrie Police Constable Nicole Rogers. “It’s a rooming house. There are multiple residents here that move in and out, so we do tend to attend those sorts of residences more often.”
Police say there were also reports of a disturbance at the building around the same time.
Police say the fire is a criminal investigation and they are still in the process of interviewing residents and witnesses.
The city has posted a notice saying the building is unsafe. There is no word on when the residents who live there may be allowed back in.