‘It’s awful’: Oshawa community shocked after house fire deemed as arson

Click to play video: 'Neighbourhood in shock after suspicious fire leaves woman in critical condition'
Neighbourhood in shock after suspicious fire leaves woman in critical condition
WATCH: Ontario's Office of the Fire Marshal has deemed a fire in Oshawa over the weekend as arson. The criminal investigations bureau was on scene all day Sunday collecting evidence from the home. Frazer Snowdon has the story. – Jul 24, 2023

Neighbours living in Oshawa’s south end are in shock after a suspicious fire left an elderly woman in critical condition.

Oshawa fire crews were called to 250 McNaughton Ave. around 12:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Deputy Fire Chief Steve Barkwell says it appears the fire broke out on the main level, causing thousands of dollars in damages.

Police were also called to the scene and discovered two occupants were able to escape. However, Sgt. Joanne Bortoluss with Durham Regional Police says one of them, an elderly woman, was taken to a local hospital.

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“A 67-year-old woman was taken to hospital with smoke inhalation, where she was originally in life-threatening condition. And that condition has been upgraded to critical,” says Bortoluss.

Police are unsure of the relationship, but say they are known to each other.

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Both the Ontario fire marshal’s office and Durham police have determined the cause to be arson.
Now, members of the criminal investigations bureau are trying to piece together what caused the blaze.

Police won’t comment on the nature of why the CIB is involved but say their detectives are looking for anything that can help.

“They are responsible for any sort of criminal investigation,” says Bortoluss. “They try to determine and build a timeline, and lead up to what caused this fire.”

Investigators were on scene all day Sunday collecting evidence at the home. The incident was surprising to Anthony Bianca, who lives down the street.

“It’s awful,” says Bianca, who moved into the area just a few years ago.

“I saw the Ontario fire marshal vehicle, and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, hope nobody got hurt. And I heard on the news someone was in the hospital — it’s heartbreaking.”

Police are now asking for anyone that may have any information or surveillance footage that could help to contact Durham police or call Crime Stoppers.

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