Edmonton

Wetaskiwin shelter fire deemed suspicious after body found inside

Wetaskiwin RCMP and the major crimes unit are now investigating after human remains were discovered in the burned out structure known as Manny’s Motel.

Identity of the person who died and the cause of death have not yet been confirmed, police say

Crews were called just before midnight on Jan. 14 to a large structure fire in Wetaskiwin. (Patricia Broatch)

Wetaskiwin RCMP and the major crimes unit are investigating after human remains were discovered in a burned out structure known as Manny's Motel.

The fire started shortly before midnight on Jan. 14 at the property which is used for low-income housing and a shelter, near the corner of 40th Avenue and 54th Street in Wetaskiwin, about 70 kilometres south of Edmonton.

Police officers entered the building to alert numerous residents and evacuate the building on the night of the blaze. 

Firefighters remained on scene for hours contending with extreme cold as the temperature hovered around –35 C, with windchill of –50. 

The extreme cold weather hindered efforts to examine the scene and conduct an investigation into the cause of the fire, police said in a news release Saturday.

Crews managed to thaw enough ice to begin an examination of the scene by Jan. 20, six days after the fire. 

Human remains found

On Thursday, human remains were discovered in the building. The fire investigator determined the fire was suspicious the same day.

An autopsy was completed on the body on Friday, but the identity of the person who died and the cause of death have not yet been confirmed, police said, adding that additional tests will be conducted as they continue to examine the scene of the fire. 

Anyone with information regarding the incident is being asked to contact Wetaskiwin RCMP or Crime Stoppers. 

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