Homicide unit investigating death in suspicious late-night fire in Osborne Village

WINNIPEG — An investigation is underway following a fatal fire in Osborne Village Sunday night.

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service said at 11 p.m. it responded to a house fire in the 300 block of Wardlaw Avenue. When crews arrived, the fire had spread to the grocery store located beside it in the 100 block of Scott Street.

Firefighters said two people were in the residence above the grocery store when the fire broke out; one person escaped and was taken to hospital, the other, a woman in her 60s was rescued but later died of her injuries.

Ata Baslik lives across the street and witnessed the fire, he said at around 11 p.m., he could hear people screaming outside.

“I came out, the grocery store and the building next to it was already well on fire,” he said.

Baslik said the two people who lived upstairs were a mother and son, and they owned the grocery store.

The last time he was inside, he briefly spoke with the woman, but left because they didn’t have what he was looking for.

“She was nice about it, she smiled and said ‘no problem’ and that’s the last time I saw her.”

Hope Stusiak lives in Osborne Village and shopped at the grocery store multiple times a week.

She spoke with the woman who owns the store often, and was devastated to learn she died in the fire.

“It breaks my heart, I was planning on going to the grocery store (today),” she said. “ I’m heartbroken, good people, she was such a sweet woman.”

Constable Rob Carver with the Winnipeg Police Service said the homicide unit is investigating the blaze.

“The cause of this fire is not yet determined, and there’s some concern that it may have been arson, but we don’t know yet.”

Carver said when the cause of the fire is determined, those findings will dictate where the investigation goes.

People in the area said WPS has been collecting surveillance footage from the neighbouring buildings as part of the investigation.

“I just want them to find out what happened,” said Stusiak.

“I hope it wasn’t an intentionally set fire.”

WPS is asking anyone with information about the fire to call the homicide unit at 204-986-6508 or CrimeStoppers at 204-786-8477.

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