No criminal charges laid in Oshawa fire that killed 4 in January
Kayla Goodfield, CTV News Toronto
Published Thursday, November 8, 2018 12:22PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, November 8, 2018 12:57PM EST
Durham Regional Police have ruled out laying any criminal charges in connection with a fire at an Oshawa home with no smoke alarms that left a mother, her two children and another man dead at the beginning of the year, despite the fact that charges have been laid under the Ontario Fire Code.
Flames tore through a home located on Centre Street North on Jan. 8. The blaze killed Lindsey Bonchek, her four-year-old son Jaxon and her nine-year-old daughter Maddie. Steven MacDonald was also killed in the fire after he ran back into the home to save his pregnant daughter, ex-wife and girlfriend, who all lived in the residence.
Three other occupants of the two-unit dwelling were hospitalized.
While investigating the home, Rick Derstroff of the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office said he and his colleagues located brackets, mounts and wires, presumably meant to connect to smoke alarms, but no actual devices were found.
The Ontario Fire Code requires all homes to have a smoke detector on every floor.
On Tuesday, charges under the Ontario Fire Code were laid against the owner of the property, its directors and two occupants of the home. Their identities have not been released by officials.
“If working smoke alarms had been in place, the occupants would have had early detection and the opportunity to escape,” Derstroff said in a news release.
Two days later, Durham police said after concluding an “extensive investigation and consultation with multiple stakeholders” regarding the matter, they will not be laying any criminal charges in connection with the deadly blaze.
“Investigators with the central east division criminal investigations bureau worked closely with the Coroner’s office, Oshawa Fire Services, the Ontario Fire Marshal and the Crown Attorney’s office to review all the evidence in this case,” a news release said. “Police investigators looked specifically at whether enough evidence was available to support criminal charges such as arson or negligence causing death or bodily harm.”
After reviewing what they had gathered in the case, investigators said “there is insufficient evidence in this incident to support the laying of any criminal charges and no reasonable prospects for conviction.”