May 18, 2024

Home Inspection

Home Inspection, Primary Monitoring for Your Home

Windsor police treat ‘rainbow house’ fire as suspicious, say building will be demolished

4 min read

Windsor police are investigating an overnight fire at the ‘rainbow house’ on Ouellette Avenue in the city’s downtown.

“No injuries were reported as a result of the incident, but the building will be demolished due to damages sustained in the fire,” police said in a statement.

“The Windsor police arson unit is treating the fire as suspicious.”

WATCH | Windsor’s ‘rainbow house’ destroyed in overnight fire:

A rainbow painted house on Ouellette Avenue in Windsor’s downtown has been destroyed by fire. The abandoned building was spray-painted last September by local artists.

Emergency crews responded to 841 Ouellette Avenue around 11:55 p.m. ET on Wednesday. 

The building, near Elliot Street West, was spray-painted rainbow colours last September by local artists.

Crews were on scene into the wee hours of Thursday, including multiple aerial trucks spraying water at the structure from above.

Emergency crews look on at Windsor's 'rainbow' house after it was destroyed by fire.
Emergency crews look on at Windsor’s ‘rainbow’ house after it was destroyed by fire. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

No word yet from fire officials what may have sparked the blaze; however, Windsor fire says no one was injured and that the “structure was unoccupied” before it started.

Investigators are urging residents and business owners in the area to check their surveillance or dash cam footage for possible evidence.

Listed heritage home

The “rainbow home” is listed on the city’s heritage registry, meaning council would need to approve any demolition.

Owners of properties on the register must make an application to the city if it is their intent to tear it down.

The property is now listed as an “unsafe building” on the city’s public property inquiry database — under the building code act violations.

Windsor police are investigation an overnight fire at an abandoned building on Ouellette Avenue.
Windsor police are investigation an overnight fire at an abandoned building on Ouellette Avenue. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

Mark Dare saw the building go up in flames. The LaSalle man was visiting friends in the downtown core.

“You could hear it sizzling,” he said. “It seemed ominous that it happened so fast. It was a tinderbox.”

Fire crews fight a blaze at an abandoned spray-painted building in Windsor's downtown.
Fire crews fight a blaze at an abandoned spray-painted building in Windsor’s downtown. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Dare calls the area “nefarious” and that he wouldn’t want to live in the vicinity. 

“I hope it wasn’t a case of arson and it was spontaneous.”

Calling it a “hazard” he said it needs to be demolished.

LaSalle resident Mark Dare was visiting friends when he saw the Wednesday night fire.
LaSalle resident Mark Dare was visiting friends when he saw the Wednesday night fire. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

Ilene Muise has lived near where the fire occurred for eight years. She also hopes it gets torn down.

“I’ve noticed a big decline in the neighbourhood,” she said.

When the house was spray-painted rainbow colours in September she said it was cute at first, but ultimately nothing changed.

Ilene Muise lives near where the fire happened and says she hopes it's torn down as soon as possible.
Ilene Muise lives near where the fire happened and says she hopes it’s torn down as soon as possible. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

“It was a good effort but I can’t see where that house would make any difference to change a neighbourhood by painting it.”

She says the core isn’t in the greatest shape and she’s not holding her breath about substantial changes being made.

What's been known as Windsor's 'rainbow house' since September, 841 Ouellette Avenue is pictured during its spray-paint makeover.
What’s been known as Windsor’s ‘rainbow house’ since September, 841 Ouellette Avenue is pictured during its spray-paint makeover. (Submitted by Ryan Eyres)

Peg Dorner says the building has been a “cause for concern” ever since it shut down from being a restaurant and sat dormant.

“It’s dangerous … so hopefully they do take it down now,” said the Windsor resident.

“So sad,” she added.

Peg Dorner says 841 Ouellette Avenue has been a cause for a concern for some time.
Peg Dorner says 841 Ouellette Avenue has been a cause for a concern for some time. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

Dorner says she was puzzled at first when it was spray-painted because she knew what a beautiful home it could’ve been had it been restored.

“I think the colour just brought attention to it … and I think originally it was in a positive way but afterwards in the long run it wasn’t a good thing for it to happen. It was like it was a throwaway house now.”

Artist who painted house unsurprised by fire

Artist Daniel Bombardier — also known as DENIAL — led last year’s rainbow-coloured spray painting of the house.

He says he wasn’t surprised it burned.

“It’s been on fire before,” said Bombardier. 

“That’s kind of the reason why it was boarded up and neglected for so long. But, it was still sad. It was disheartening. Like we put a lot of work in there, just to bring some attention to that building. That area needs attention, like either from the city or some investors or even the neighbourhood.”

Bombardier says the rainbow idea was to bring a smile to people’s faces, but more importantly highlight the human factor in the area — calling it the “highest priority.”

As of 8:30 a.m. Thursday, one fire truck remained on the scene of 841 Ouellette Avenue.
As of 8:30 a.m. Thursday, one fire truck remained on the scene of 841 Ouellette Avenue. (Windsor fire/X)

“It’s not just the condition of their mental health or their addictions, but what they bring to the neighbourhood and the downtown core. It really contributes to the blight. And that’s what we’re trying to fight: the devastation of our downtown. It’s in decay, it’s falling to pieces. And it just seems like it’s been, for the last 15 years, being ignored.”

According to Bombardier, if the property ends up being levelled, he thinks there’s room for retail, small businesses.

“I think you need those spaces for small businesses and retail, which bring people in and pedestrian traffic. There’s nobody down here anymore. It’s pretty crazy.”

link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © All rights reserved. | Newsphere by AF themes.