Two people died last night (Tuesday) at a rowhouse on Elgin Avenue in Centerville in a fire police suspect to be a case of arson.
Report By Tata Mosi
A three year old child who survived the blaze was listed as being in a critical condition.
Fire Marshal Jack Peterson said the three people sleeping upstairs were a mother and her two children. The three were rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital suffering from burns and smoke inhalation.
Elise Hansen, a spokeswoman at St. Joseph’s, confirmed that the deceased was Joanne Lipson, 33, and her two children.
She said: “Lipson and her 5-year-old daughter died of severe burns and her 3-year-old son is in a critical condition.”
The fire broke out around midnight in the bottom floor of the rowhouse at 1121 Elgin Avenue. It quickly spread to the second floor where the three were sleeping.
Peterson says it appears the fire was started by an accelerant on the house’s ground floor. Neighbours told investigators they saw a man running from the house shortly before the fire started. They said he appeared to be carrying a gas can.
Lieutenant Fred Riesendorf of the Centerville police said officers are looking for Peter Clausen, the estranged boyfriend of Lipson, the woman who lived in the house, to question him about the blaze. Riesendorf said Lipson had kicked Clausen out of the house a month ago and had gone to court to obtain a restraining order against him.