According to police, on Wednesday September the 24th 2014, an explosion rocked a Welland residence at 37 Evan Street and adjacent homes. In the aftermath of the explosion witnesses observed two male suspects flee the scene in a minivan. One of the suspects was seen running with his hair on fire.
A post fire scene examination conducted by the Ontario Fire Marshall determined the origin of the fire to be accelerants dispersed throughout the interior of the second story of the residence.
A criminal investigation was subsequently carried out by members of the 3 District Detective Offices in Welland and through a combination of investigative techniques the suspects responsible for the arson were identified.
On Wednesday April the 22nd 2015 members of the Welland Street Crime unit located and arrested one of the suspects, Thorold resident Justin Yates while they were recovering stolen property in an unrelated incident.
27 year old Justin Yates is charged with Arson Having Disregard for Human Life, Possession of Methamphetamine for the Purpose of Trafficking, Possession of Fentanyl for the Purposes of Trafficking, and three counts of Breaching a Recognizance of Bail. YATES will have a Bail Hearing on Thursday April the 23rd 2015 at 59 Church Street in the city of St. Catharines.
Investigators would like to reassure Welland residents that the arson was not a random act. Information has been received leading police to believe that the matter was one of arson for hire and that 37 Evan Street was specifically targeted. Investigators plan on additional arrests before the matter is concluded.
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