Friday, April 18, 2008

Timmins fire may have followed break-in

Timmins Police Service says it believes Wednesday’s Pine Street fire to be “suspicious in nature” based on evidence found near the scene of the fire.
The fire destroyed three businesses on Pine South - - Chez La Coupe, a hair, make-up and tanning salon; What’s “N” Store, a discount shop and Caroline Trahan’s Sound & Soul Studio, a music store.
The fire was first reported around 3:00 a.m. Wednesday. As fire fighters rushed to the scene, they found flames in the northwestern corner on the building on the second floor.
There had been apartments there at one time, but the second floor was empty.
As the effort continued to fight the fire, police were directed to an area east of the burning building, where a cash register was found on the ground. According to a police official, it’s believed the cash register came from a break-in at the building. Timmins Police scene-of-crime officers cordoned the area off immediately and gathered evidence.
One police official has speculated the fire may have resulted from someone trying to cover up a botched break-in.
Battling the blaze took the efforts of firefighters from Timmins, Schumacher, Mountjoy and South Porcupine for more than six hours. The Timmins dayshift was called in to stand by at the main hall in the event there were any other fire calls that day.
The Ontario Fire Marshal’s office was called to assist the investigation.
“We have invited them to join along in the investigation with Timmins Police service to help us determine what caused the fire,” said Timmins Deputy Fire Chief Joe Stojkiewicz.
“Normally when we get a fire this large, with the dollar loss, we have a joint investigation with the police and the fire marshal’s office,” he said.
“We go into the scene and look for burn patterns, fire patterns, consumption,” fire marshal investigator John Montgomery told reporters Wednesday.
“As a general rule of thumb at all of the fires we investigate, we do take debris samples and send those away for forensic examination.” He also estimated the damage to the building and contents to be roughly $300,000 but said only the insurance adjuster would know for sure. The insurance adjuster declined to comment on the value.
On Thursday the investigation continued. Because the building was deemed unsafe for investigators to walk on the second floor, a fire-department aerial truck was used to let the investigators hover over the scene and take photographs.
The building is expected to be demolished and cleared by the end of the week. The fire investigation cont

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