Police are now investigating a Tuesday morning fire on the city’s south side that killed two people and displaced 59 others.
The blaze started around 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning at the Bethany Senior Citizens Home on 99 Street and 83 Avenue. Fire crews determined that the fire was deliberately set, and the investigation has now been turned over to police. According to EPS, the two deaths are being treated as suspicious at this point, and have not been labeled homicides.
The autopsies are taking place Wednesday afternoon. The forensics unit, arson unit, post-blast experts and homicide units continue to investigate. On Wednesday morning, the EPS bomb squad was also on scene after being tipped off about a vehicle being tampered with. The building, parking lot and vehicles have been deemed safe.
Upon arrival of the scene on Tuesday morning, firefighters found the building fully in flames as well as a vehicle on fire. Crews began attacking the fire and rescued several people from the building. After being on scene for about 45 minutes, firefighters called another alarm as the fire continued to spread. They were able to get the blaze under control by 2:10 a.m.
Eight patients were taken to hospital and the Red Cross is now assisting the residents of the building. Some of its residents are staying in hotels while others are staying with family.
Damages are estimated at $1.3 million.