Fire at Ouellette Avenue apartment building deemed suspicious, arson unit investigating

Emergency vehicles at 920 Ouellette Avenue, the scene of a fire on Tuesday, July 2, 2024. (Dalson Chen/CBC - image credit)
Emergency vehicles at 920 Ouellette Avenue, the scene of a fire on Tuesday, July 2, 2024. (Dalson Chen/CBC - image credit)

A section of Ouellette Avenue was closed Tuesday due to a fire at a downtown Windsor community housing apartment building, police say, the second time first reponders been at the building since Saturday.

Early this afternoon police said in a post on social media that "the 900 block of Ouellette Avenue is closed in both directions due to an active fire."

At the time, police also said people should avoid the area until further notice. The road has since reopened.

Firefighters were able to quickly put out the fire.

Firefighters
Firefighters

A group of firefighters at the scene. (Dalson Chen/CBC)

Deb Frey, a resident of the building at 920 Ouellette Avenue, said she and another resident went to have lunch at the nearby Downtown Mission and when they returned they saw the fire on the 10th floor.

"This happened quite a few times [and] we don't know what's going on, why it's going on," Frey told CBC News.

"It's a building [for seniors], we need safety."

No injuries reported, no tenants displaced

John Smith, acting chief fire prevention officer, said the call for the fire came in around 1:30 p.m.

He told CBC News the fire started in a vacant and unrented 10th floor apartment.

Investigators from Windsor Fire and Rescue Services and the Windsor Police Service's arson unit are investigating, Smith said.

"They're currently examining the scene and we are going to deem this as a suspicious fire," he said.

Smith said there were no injuries reported and no tenants were displaced. The fire caused less than $5,000 in damages.

A fire on the 10th floor of the same building on Jan. 25 — the second in two days at the time— prompted the evacuation of residents from the building.

Standoff at building over Canada Day long weekend

Meanwhile, police were called to the same apartment building on Saturday morning after they say a man was causing a disturbance.

Police say he had discharged multiple fire extinguishers throughout the property and barricaded himself inside an apartment.

Police report he then brandished weapons, made threats and threw things at people from his balcony.

After a seven-and-a-half hour standoff, police say members of the Emergency Services Unit (ESU) entered the apartment and a person was arrested without incident.

A 59-year-old man faces the following charges:

  • Assault with a weapon.

  • Possession of a weapon dangerous to public peace.

  • Uttering threats to cause death.

  • Uttering threats to cause damage to property.

  • Mischief over $5,000.