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Windsor man facing assault, arson charges after 920 Ouellette fire

Firefighters and police had a large presence at 920 Ouellette Avenue on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024 for a fire on the 10th floor of the building.  (Dale Molnar/CBC - image credit)
Firefighters and police had a large presence at 920 Ouellette Avenue on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024 for a fire on the 10th floor of the building. (Dale Molnar/CBC - image credit)

A Windsor man is facing assault and arson charges after an apartment fire in downtown Windsor on Thursday.

According to Windsor police, private security, Windsor housing staff and officials from the sheriff's office went to an apartment building in the 900 block of Ouellette Avenue to carry out an eviction.

Police say they arrived to find the tenant wearing a hazmat suit and respirator mask.

"The tenant splashed three of the parties with an unknown noxious substance, causing them to retreat to the building lobby," Windsor police said in a statement. "Shortly thereafter, the tenant entered the lobby and was detained by the sheriff."

Officers attended the scene and took one person into custody, also reporting a balcony fire the individual allegedly admitted to starting, according to police. Windsor Fire and Rescue Services were on scene and the individual was taken to hospital.

"The three parties exposed to the substance did not report any injuries," police said.

A spokesperson from the Windsor fire department said Thursday that hazardous materials teams were brought to the scene as a precaution. Buses were also brought to the building for between 30 an 40 residents who were evacuated from the building while first responders worked.

A 64-year-old man is facing two counts of assaulting a peace officer and one count each of assault with a weapon and arson.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Windsor Police Service major crimes unit or CrimeStoppers to remain anonymous.

On Wednesday, firefighters rescued a person from the 17th floor of the same building. Damage in that fire, which was confined to one unit, is estimated at about $400,000, though the fire was not deemed suspicious.