Fatal fire investigated on Stuart Street in Sarnia
The Observer

One person is dead after a fire ripped through a small one-storey building in the west end of Sarnia, police say.

The deadly blaze on Stuart Street  began at about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. Heavy smoke could be seen billowing from the squat building as firefighters in breathing gear worked at the scene. Police, fire and ambulance vehicles could be seen near the burning building at the corner of Stuart and Davis streets while yellow police tape blocked off a section of the neighbourhood.

The victim’s identity is not being released until next of kin can be notified, Sarnia police Const. Nelson Amaral said.

“The scene is going to be held and the Ontario Fire Marshal has been notified,” Amaral added.

Fire Chief Bryan Van Gaver said firefighters saw heavy smoke and flames when they first arrived at the scene.

“They did discover one victim early on,” Van Gaver said. “They got him out and he has been taken to hospital.”

Van Gaver said the building appeared to be a one-storey garage with attached living quarters.

Geoff Freeman recently moved into his Forsyth Street home, which backs onto the property of the building that burned.

He was cleaning his basement when a neighbour knocked on the door and told him about the fire, he said.

“We had no idea.”

When he and his wife rushed out of the house, their backyard was already full of thick smoke.

“We don’t know him personally,” Freeman said about the person who lived in the building. “We met him once.”

Myles Vanni, executive director of the Inn of the Good Shepherd food bank and another neighbour, said there had been a lot of police activity in recent months at that building.

“This is probably about the third fire in the last year” at the same address, he added.

Police are asking anyone with information about the fire to contact Det. Brian Halfpenny at 519-344-8861 ext. 6213, or Sarnia-Lambton Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

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