Hamilton fire that left woman, dogs dead may be linked to landlord-tenant dispute, police say
Chris Fox, CTV News Toronto
Published Tuesday, July 9, 2019 10:53AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 9, 2019 7:31PM EDT
Hamilton police say that a suspicious apartment fire that claimed the life of woman and two dogs on Monday night may have something to do with a dispute between a landlord and their tenant.
Firefighters responded to the multi-unit building on Beach Road late Monday night after smoke was seen coming from the window of one of the apartments.
A woman, who has not yet been identified, was subsequently taken out of the unit by firefighters. She was rushed to hospital without vital signs and pronounced dead a short time later.
At a news conference on Tuesday morning, Det. Sgt. Peter Thom told reporters that the apartment was operating as a “flop house” of sorts and the woman had been temporarily staying there.
He said that investigators have deemed the fire to be suspicious as a result of a dispute between the landlord and the registered tenant, which he said led to certain unspecified comments being made.
“There was some history there and until the fire marshal and fire department get in there to confirm that it is in fact an arson we will be going on more historical information,” he said.
Two people briefly taken into custody
Thom said that one of the occupants of the apartment was seen leaving the scene with a female friend immediately prior to the fire being noticed.
He said that the pair eventually returned to the building at around 2:15 a.m. and were taken into police custody.
They have since been released unconditionally, however.
Asked whether those individuals are considered suspects, Thom only said that officers had “reasonable grounds” to apprehend them and may bring them in for further questioning.
“We have expressed to them that we may want to speak with them again,” he said. “Without the autopsy and without a search of the premises having been conducted there is still quite a bit of work to do on this.”