Windsor

Arson suspects sought in commercial building fire

Investigators are trying to determine the cause of a fire that on Thursday night badly damaged a commercial building under construction in south Windsor.

Police seek 3 teens in connection to blaze that damaged a building under construction on Dougall Avenue

The building under construction is being built on the site of a former gas station.

Windsor police now believe a fire that caused extensive damage to a commercial building under construction Thursday night on Dougall Avenue  was deliberately set.

Firefighters were called to the Dougall Avenue and Grand Marais Road area just before 10:30 pm. They arrived to find the structure on fire.

District fire chief Dave Boyer said "the fire was put out in a relatively short period of time."

Boyer says firefighters moved quickly as flames were so high they were coming into contact with nearby power lines: Enwin Utilities was called in quickly:

"Certainly we needed hydro here," Boyer said.

The fire was contained to second floor of the new structure.

Damage is expected to exceed $100,000.

Police and fire investigators are trying to determine the cause.

The developer, André Abouasli, was told by witnesses that some young people were seen running from the property.

Abouasli said he was heart broken after taking a look at the damage, which he estimated at more than $200, 000.

"It's like a baby," he said of the building and the businesses that were moving into the building.  Abouasli also said he's been working on the project for two and a half years, and that while the fire is a set back - he will rebuild.

The arson unit is now investigating.

Police are looking for three suspects described as while males, 18 years of age, with thin builds. Two of the men were riding BMX style bicycles, and one was on foot. 

All three were last seen leaving the area west on West Grand Boulevard and then south on Avondale Road.

Police believe they live in that area.

City councillors praised Abouasli when he took advantage of the city's brownfield redevelopment program, which offers incentives to clean and build on environmentally compromised land.

His project is being built on a former gas station site.

Abouasli said he'll continue on with his project.

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