Former Syncrude executive arson target
Published Sunday, January 11, 2009 5:27PM MST
Investigators say a home that was gutted by a massive blaze Saturday evening in Edmonton was deliberately set on fire, and some neighbours suspect the homeowner was being targeted because of his ties to the oil and gas industry.
Fire crews were called to a two-storey home on Bearspaw Drive at about 8:15 p.m. Saturday after neighbours reported the blaze.
One woman who lives across the street says she heard a loud explosion before looking outside to see that her neighbour's house was on fire.
"I heard the explosion when I was in the shower. When I came out, there were all these fire trucks...the whole house engulfed in flames, it was just a big ball of fire," said neighbour Gemma Fong.
Homeowner and former Syncrude C.O.O. Jim Carter and the rest of his family were not home at the time of the fire, but they took a drive by to see the destruction Sunday afternoon.
While there is no evidence to prove this, some people in the neighbourhood tell CTV News they suspect Carter is being targeted because of his ties to the oil and gas industry.
Edmonton's Fire Department confirms the blaze was set deliberately, but they aren't releasing details on how the fire might have been started. However, neighbours tell CTV News a Molotov cocktail was thrown through the front window.
"I can't confirm that. The fire originated on the exterior front and interior front window of the home," said fire investigator Rod Lewis.
Fire officials say they are waiting for lab results to determine the exact cause of the fire.
The Edmonton Police Arson Unit is not investigating the fire. Damage is estimated at $850,000.