NEWS
07/17/2011 12:13 EDT | Updated 09/16/2011 05:12 EDT

Lulonda Lynn Flett Charged With Murder In Winnipeg Rooming House Fire That Killed Four

CP

THE CANADIAN PRESS -- WINNIPEG - Winnipeg police have arrested and charged a woman in their investigation of a rooming house fire that killed four people.

Police said a woman was seen using an accelerant to set fire to the front porch of the north-end house before fleeing the scene on Saturday.

Three men and a woman died in the early morning blaze and two men remain in critical condition in hospital.

Const. Jason Michalyshen, a police spokesman, said investigators are still exploring motives for the alleged attack.

"I can acknowledge that our accused may have known at least one individual who did reside at that location," Michalyshen said on Sunday, adding that he didn't know if the accused lived in the area.

Lulonda Lynn Flett, 40, has been charged with four counts of second degree murder and four counts of attempted murder as a result of her alleged involvement.

Fire officials said the blaze, which began near the front entrance, was climbing the stairs by the time crews arrived and was blocking an obvious escape route.

Investigators have said the fire is not linked to recent gang activity in the city.

The investigation is being continued by members of the homicide squad.

Michalyshen said he isn't aware of any additional arrests pending.

"An arrest has been made — we're very pleased with that. But obviously a very unfortunate circumstance here," Michalyshen said.

"Certainly any support we can provide to the families regarding our involvement, we certainly will do so."

Michalyshen said police have been called to the house numerous times in the past, but he noted that since it was a rooming house, it was likely that many different people lived there and the reasons police were called would be varied.

Deputy fire chief Reid Douglas said 77 firefighters were involved in battling the blaze and in the rescue effort.

Crews arriving on the scene just after 2 a.m. on Saturday were told people were still in the house and entered through the back after finding the front engulfed in flames, he said.

Firefighters brought six people out of the house, four of whom have since died. Names of the victims have not been released as police on Sunday were still notifying their families.

Douglas said the home was checked by fire safety inspectors only last month and that the alarms were sounding when fire crews arrived.

"We'll have what we call a post-incident analysis," he said. "We may review the dispatch tapes and the logs. We look for good and bad."

"But it doesn't sound in this incident we could have done anything different."