Woman charged in Winnipeg fire deaths

Winnipeg police have made an arrest in connection with a weekend rooming house fire that killed four and left two others critically injured.
Four people died after a fire in this home at 288 Austin St. N. early Saturday. (Shaun McLeod/CBC)

Winnipeg police have made an arrest in connection with a weekend rooming house fire that killed four and left two others critically injured.

Lulonda Lynn Flett, 40, has been charged with four counts of second-degree murder and four counts of attempted murder, police said Sunday. Flett was arrested in a Main Street bar on Saturday, police said.

Officials examining the charred facade said the fire likely started near the front entrance, possibly on the veranda, blocking an obvious escape route. The front of the structure was ablaze when firefighters arrived.

Police said Sunday a witness saw someone using something flammable to light the blaze early Saturday morning.

The accused knew someone who lived in the rooming house, police said. Three men and a woman died as a result of the fire at 288 Austin St. N., which was called in just before 2 a.m. CT Saturday. Four others — two women and two men — fled the home and both men remain in hospital in critical condition.

Neighbours told CBC News that the rooming house is often home to people struggling with addictions.

Reid Douglas, Winnipeg's deputy fire chief, said the house had been the subject of a fire safety investigation in the past month, but the problem had been corrected.

Officials said the house had 13 rooms and that they believed people were also using basement space for sleeping.

The names of the victims have not been released.

The city's arson strike force and police homicide unit continue to investigate.