20-year-old Hamilton man charged with arson after McMaster University residence fire
The Hamilton Spectator

Hamilton police say they have charged a 20-year-old man with arson after a fire at a McMaster University residence Saturday afternoon.

Police allege the man “set fire to an individual room” in a unit at Bates Residence, a five-storey building in the university’s west quad.

Fire crews responded to a blaze in a large four-bedroom apartment at the 1280 Main St. W. building just after 2 p.m. Saturday, deputy fire chief Dan Milovanovic said in an email Saturday.

“The alarm system alerted the occupants of the residence and all residents self evacuated,” he said.

No injuries were reported.

Flames were quickly extinguished, but there was “heavy to moderate” smoke throughout the building, Milovanovic said. Crews were still clearing smoke as of 3:30 p.m. The Office of the Fire Marshal has been notified.

A Hamilton man, Ruomu Ba, has been charged with arson-disregard for human life.

In a statement Saturday, McMaster said the fire was “contained to a third-floor apartment” and the building, a first-year residence, was evacuated as a precaution. The building was reopened Saturday after it was deemed safe.

“Water and smoke damage to nearby units is still being assessed,” the university said in the statement.

McMaster originally said a dozen students were temporarily relocated on campus as a result of the fire, but that number has since been updated to eight students. All other students returned to their Bates units.

“That anyone would set a deliberate fire is deeply disturbing, especially in a student residence,” said Sean Van Koughnett, the university’s dean of students, said in a statement Sunday.

In addition the police investigation, the university says it will be following up under the Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities, which provides for disciplinary measures, such as sanctions and suspensions.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 905-546-3833.


<back to Headlines