59-year-old man has died after a fire at home in downtown Windsor
Investigators with Ontario Fire Marshall arrived on Monday
A 59-year-old man has died and a woman was sent to hospital with life-threatening injuries after a home on Church Street caught fire on Sunday, according to Windsor's fire department.
Firefighters responded to a blaze between Park Street and Karl Place around 9:15 p.m., Windsor Fire and Rescue Services reported in a series of tweets.
There was heavy smoke and fire upon arrival, the fire department said.
Mary Hoch lives around the corner from the house. She looked outside last night to see the street crowded with emergency services and clouded with smoke.
"All I could see was smoke and it was like very, very thick and black," she said.
"It was horrifying. You couldn't seen anything. It covered ... basically, the whole neighbourhood."
Hoch said flames were shooting out of the roof and she had to head inside after a short while because the smoke was so bad.
"It was a ball of fire," she explained.
Then the roof collapsed. "We were watching through back window and could just see the flames just rolling out of it"
By around 11:30 p.m., the fire department said crews were tackling hot spots.
The department initially said two people from the home had been rescued and were being treated in hospital.
In a post on Twitter just after 9 a.m. Monday, fire officials said one person had died of injuries.
Windsor police said the Major Crime Unit and Arson Unit are actively investigating.
The morning after the fire, the heavy damage was apparent and the home was covered in ice.
Hoch said she believes the building was condemned, but there was a fairly steady stream of people who were experiencing homelessness who visited it.
A 'tragic situation'
Investigators with the Ontario Fire Marshal's (OFM) office were on scene Monday, working to determine what sparked the flames and where the fire began.
"Obviously it's a tragic situation," said OFM supervisor Manny Garcia.
He said the home will likely be a "total loss," estimating damage could be in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Garcia added that firefighters likely faced challenging conditions battling the blaze in the cold.
"You can imagine it's the middle of the night, it's a hectic situation, freezing conditions. I mean, just take a look at these," he said, gesturing at bushes and railings coated in icicles. "It's all covered in ice."
Church St fire update, fire attack still underway, protecting exposure properties, 2 people rescued from the home currently being treated at the hospital. *JL—@WindsorFire1
Police are asking people in the area to check surveillance video for footage of any suspicious people or activity around the time of the incident.