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Fire marshal investigating cause of fatal Oro-Medonte fire

Man was killed in Saturday morning blaze; 'The investigation is still in the preliminary stage,' says Ontario Fire Marshal
fatal fire in oro excavator
Heavy equipment was brought in today by the Ontario Fire Marshal to remove part of the roof that collapsed during a fire at a Line 9 North home in Oro-Medonte Township. A man, whose identity has not been released, was killed in the Saturday morning blaze. Ontario Fire Marshal photo

The investigation continues today into a fatal fire that occurred in Oro-Medonte Township Saturday morning.

Oro-Medonte Township firefighters were dispatched to the home on Line 9 North near Moonstone Road after a passerby saw smoke coming from the residence.

Oro-Medonte Fire Chief Hugh Murray said firefighters from Moonstone and Warminster stations responded with tankers from Horseshoe Valley and Rugby.

When they arrived, they found a "fully involved structure fire," said Murray.

A man, whose identity has not yet been released, was killed in the blaze.

Orillia OPP Const. Scott Williams said he could not provide any details “pending an autopsy.”

He said the autopsy will be conducted in Toronto but he could not provide information about when that might happen.

“The OPP is working alongside the Ontario Fire Marshal (OFM) and the Coroner’s Office,” Williams noted.

Jeff Tebby, operations manager for the OFM, said late Sunday afternoon “the investigation is ongoing.”

Earlier Sunday, heavy equipment was brought in and used to remove the metal roof from a portion of the approximately 1,000-square-foot home.

During the fire, the roof had collapsed on the victim, Tebby said.

“The investigation is still in the preliminary stage,” said Tebby, noting investigators are focusing on one half of the home where the man was located.

“The fire consumed a lot of the structure," said Tebby. "We are excavating through the debris and that will go until dark.”

Tebby is part of a four-member team from the OFM investigating the blaze; the team includes two other investigators and a specialist who was called in to obtain drone footage of the interior of the home.

They will be back on the scene Monday to continue their investigation.

The home is a “total loss.” Murray pegged the damage at more than $200,000.

Steven Wilson, the assistant deputy fire marshal, said OFM investigators typically pay special attention to wood stoves, gas fireplaces, appliances and other potential causes.

“The idea is to eliminate any potential sources. It could be careless smoking, it could be intentional - although there is nothing at this point to suggest that,” Wilson told OrilliaMatters.

He did note almost half of all calls the OFM investigates are “criminal in nature.”

Williams noted Orillia OPP officers have been on the scene since the fire was extinguished to provide “scene security.” That will continue at least until Monday.

Dave Dawson

About the Author: Dave Dawson

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