Montreal

Fire that left at least 1 dead in Quebec City on Thursday under criminal investigation

Quebec City police say they have reasons to believe that a fire that left one man dead and a woman in critical conditions on Thursday was criminal in nature.

A man is dead and a woman suffered life-threatening injuries in early-morning fire

Firefighters asses the damage Thursday in Quebec City after the fire was brought under control in Saint-Roch. (Marie-Pier Mercier/Radio-Canada)

Quebec City police say they have reasons to believe that a fire that left a man in his 60s dead and a woman who lived with him in critical condition was arson. 

The fire broke out in a garbage container and quickly spread to a six-unit apartment building in Quebec City's Saint-Roch neighbourhood at around 4 a.m. on Thursday. An adjacent complex also caught fire.

The man and the woman were both transported to the hospital, where he later died. 

"Our investigators will look at all the elements to ensure that we can arrest a suspect in this affair," David Poitras, a spokesperson for the Service de police de la Ville de Québec, told Radio-Canada on Wednesday.

Poitras said the police are looking into many elements, including the fact that another fire was lit a few days earlier, also in a garbage container, less than a block away.

He would not disclose more details as the investigation is still ongoing.

Nearly all of Quebec City's firefighters on shift were deployed to the fire. (Submitted by Quebec City's fire department)

About 80 firefighters were deployed to the scene. They succeeded in getting the fire under control at around 6 a.m. Both buildings were severely damaged by the flames, the city's fire department said in an email.

Five of the firefighters suffered injuries and were taken care of by paramedics, the fire department said.

Five buildings were evacuated. The Red Cross was on site and assisted about 20 people, according to the fire department.

Hydro-Québec also had to shut down the power in the neighbourhood to facilitate the operations, which left more than 2,800 without electricity while firefighters battled the flames.

With files from Glenn Wanamaker and Radio-Canada's Marie-Pier Mercier and Alain Rochefort

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