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Arson suspect in deadly Rexdale fire identified
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Thursday, December 12, 2019 5:33AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, December 12, 2019 5:35PM EST
A 24-year-old man has been arrested following a fatal fire at a home in Rexdale, Toronto police say.
The fire broke out inside a residence on Stallion Place, in the vicinity of Highway 27 and Rexdale Boulevard, at around 9:25 p.m. on Wednesday.
The victim, believed to be a woman in her 50s, was pulled from the home without vital signs but was pronounced dead on scene.
Meanwhile, a firefighter was taken to hospital with minor injuries from heat exhaustion.
The suspect, who lived in the home, was arrested at an area hospital following the fire.
Police tell CP24 that a 23 Division officer happened to be at the hospital on an unrelated call when he encountered the suspect and began an investigation.
Police say that the suspect has been charged with arson.
A source tells CP24 the accused is Joel Vassell.
The source said the accused identified himself as the son of the victim.
Neighbours told CP24 there have been domestic incidents at the home in the past.
About 30 firefighters were on the scene at the peak of the fire.
"This was a significant fire," Deputy Chief Jim Jessop told CP24 on Wednesday night. "There's not much left inside of both (the) first and second floor. (The fire) literally melted the shed at the rear of the building."
A neighbour, who identified himself only as Samson, told CP24 he was first alerted to the fire when he noticed smoke coming into his townhome.
He said he eventually went to the backyard to see where it was coming from and saw smoke on the roof of his neighbour’s house.
He said he called 911 and when firefighters arrived and told them he believed there was someone still inside the residence.
“I was just yelling to let them know that’s she’s inside,” he said. “Since I saw a car outside, I know she’s inside.”
He added that the woman next door has been his neighbour for more than 10 years and works as a nurse.
“She’s a good woman,” he said.