Homicide detectives have been called in after crews responding to a house fire in Aurora located a body inside.

Crews were first dispatched to a residence on Edward Street near Yonge and Wellington streets just before 1 a.m. for a reported fire.

York Regional Police Const. Andy Pattenden tells CP24 that the house was fully engulfed by the time firefighters arrived, forcing them to battle the blaze from a defensive position at first.

The body wasn’t located until firefighters were able to gain access to the inside of the house about an hour later.

“It wasn’t until around 2 a.m. that firefighters were able to knock down the flames enough that they were able to get inside the home and that is when they located a body, believed to be an adult, deceased,” Pattenden said. “Further investigation by the coroner’s office had deemed the death of that person to be suspicious and that is why our homicide unit is now engaged.”

House gutted by fire

Pattenden said that the house was “completely burned out” following the fire and is “pretty much a complete write-off.”

He said that right now efforts are still underway to identify the victim. So far officials haven’t even been able to ascertain a gender, Pattenden said.

The investigation at the scene, meanwhile, has just begun and will include participation from the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal and Central York Fire Services.

“It will be quite some time for investigators to go through and figure out exactly what took place,” Pattenden said. “This scene is likely to be held for at least a couple of days.”

Neighbours shocked

Police are currently going door-to-door in the surrounding neighbourhood today in search of witnesses and potential surveillance footage.

One man who lives nearby told CP24 that the incident has shocked the neighbourhood.

“You hear these things or you see them on TV from time to time but when it happens in your own neighbourhood in a spot you walk by daily it is just shock and concern,” he said. “It is just a terrible thing.”

Pattenden described the area where the fire occurred as a “very quiet neighbourhood.”

“They just don’t expect things like this to happen here,” he said, noting that many residents are “distraught.”