Toronto man, 34, charged with arson after death of pets in midtown fire
A 34-year-old man is facing arson charges in connection to a midtown Toronto fire that killed two cats and a dog.
Fire crews were called to a multi-unit apartment around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday at Yonge Street and Belsize Drive.
Toronto police said a man set fire to a second-floor unit causing the death of some pets.
Police said he then barricaded himself inside the apartment and was eventually arrested at the scene.
A resident told Global News the man was the building superintendent.
“We were suspecting from this guy since long time ago,” resident Eliany Naranjo said.
“We made some comments to the landlord but nobody paid attention to us.”
Another resident, André Proulx, also told Global News he wasn’t surprised, saying he’s heard some noises and disturbances coming from his unit before. But he never imagined the superintendent “taking it to this level.”
Proulx said him and his fiancé were awoken just after 12:30 a.m. by the fire alarm. His first thought was that it was just a drill and tried to muffle the sound, but then he heard people screaming, “Get out, get out.”
That’s when they gathered up their dog and two cats and got out of the building.
But his sister-in-law and her boyfriend, who also live in the building, encountered too much smoke and became trapped.
“They ended up getting out by the Toronto police bringing a ladder up to their window on the third floor and break [it] with a fire extinguisher,” he said, adding both made it out safely, as well as their two cats.
Authorities said more than a dozen people were displaced by the fire.
Daniel Carrey, another resident in the building, said he was relaxing at home when he heard the fire alarm. He said he ignored it at first because people have pulled the alarm as a prank in the past.
“My roommate comes in and is just like, ‘The house is on fire, get out!’ (I) open the door and smoke just starts flooding the apartment,” Carrey said.
“So I close the door, take a big breath, open the door and just try to book it down the stairs … Smoke was burning my eyes. I was choking, like my lungs still hurt from just that short exposure to the smoke – it was brutal.”
The suspect, identified as Bradley Oliver, faces seven charges including arson causing property damage, uttering threats to cause property damage, uttering threats to harm animals, kill, maim or wound animals and assault.
The accused was scheduled to make a court appearance on Tuesday.
An investigator with the Office of the Fire Marshal said they are looking into the origin of the fire.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-5300 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS.
— With files from Mark Carcasole
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.