Homeowners charged in Scarborough fire that claimed life of UofT student
Fire crews at the scene of a fatal fire at a home in Scarborough where several University of Toronto students were living. The school confirmed an 18-year-old female student as the victim. (Cristina Tenaglia/CP24)
Rachael D'Amore, CP24.com
Published Monday, September 10, 2018 2:26PM EDT
Charges have been laid against the owners of a Scarborough home that caught fire back in May, killing a University of Toronto student who became trapped inside.
Helen Guo was found dead in a second-floor bedroom of a home on Haida Court on May 30 after a blaze tore through the detached house. The 18-year-old was identified by grief stricken friends on social media shortly after her death.
Three other tenants were inside the home at the time and were able to escape. One male suffered a broken ankle after he jumped out of a second-floor window in attempt to get to safety. Another tenant, a 20-year-old woman, suffered serious burns while trying to flee.
All four occupants were international students from China who were attending UofT’s Scarborough campus.
Toronto Fire Services later launched an investigation into the home, as well as four other properties owned by the same landlord. It’s believed all of the buildings were being operated as “student rooming houses,” Deputy Fire Chief Jim Jessop confirmed to CTV News Toronto back in June.
In a news release issued Monday, police allege the homeowners were “negligent in providing proper fire protection and safety at a home that they own and operate as a rental property.”
The suspects, identified as 47-year-old Weison Zhou and 45-year-old Yu Jing, both of Toronto, turned themselves in to authorities on Aug. 31.
They’re facing a total of 22 charges, including nine counts of arson by negligence, one count of criminal negligence causing death and one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.
The cause of the fire at Haida Court is still under investigation by the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal.