A horrific fire in a Fourth Street house converted into four apartments took the life of one woman and displaced the remaining tenants. The fire broke out at 38 Fourth Street in Sturgeon Falls in the early hours of Saturday, June 5, while the residents were sleeping.
Early reports indicated that all the residents got out safely after a neighbour came yelling and screaming for everyone to evacuate. One individual was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation, but the worst appeared to have been avoided – until later in the evening.
It wasn’t until 7 p.m. that it was confirmed that a body had been found, identified as Melissa Larocque, aged 33, of Lavigne. She was reportedly a guest of one of the tenants. The incident remains under investigation by the Office of the Fire Marshal, the OPP Forensic Investigations Service, the Sudbury OPP Crime Unit and the Office of the Chief Coroner – Ontario Forensic Pathology Service (OCC-FPS). OPP West Nipissing continue to maintain a presence while securing the site.
OPP Communications Officer Beverly Gauthier, out of the Blind River-Algoma Detachment, indicated that VCARS (Victims Crisis Assistance and Referral Services) had been called in to assist with all those who had been displaced. The police discovered that one person, who was visiting a tenant, was unaccounted for. “One of the tenants had left the four-plex and went to sleep at a friend’s house, and they got a hold of him at 4 p.m. The body was located at 7 p.m. Right now the investigation is ongoing.” Gauthier indicated that the initial call went to the West Nipissing Fire Service, then the OPP were called in. “We’re holding the scene for the Fire Marshal.”
People in the neighbourhood were awakened shortly before 4 a.m. by screaming and yelling as residents in the neighbourhood, among them 17-year-old Trevor Mousseau, made efforts to wake up everybody in the burning structure as well as the neighbouring houses. Mousseau said he alerted the fire department before running out to the scene.