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 Post subject: Sri Lankan couple die in St. Laurent fire
 Post Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 1:13 pm 
Sri Lankan Couple die in St. Laurent fire
Suspicious origin. Relative escapes by jumping through window

Found dead inside the home were Saroya Karthikeyan, 50, and her husband, Srikaran Karthikeyan, 56. A third occupant of the home scrambled to safety out a window. The fire is considered criminally set and not accidental, pending further investigation, Montreal police Constable Lynne Labelle said.

ANNE SUTHERLAND
@ The Gazette /Wednesday, February 06, 2008


A couple from Sri Lanka were killed when an intense fire of suspicious origin ripped through a brick bungalow in St. Laurent early yesterday. Flames devoured the carefully maintained house on Rochon St., which featured a large lawn and shrubbery shielded against the winter. Windows were smashed and blackened, and storm gutters littered the front lawn. There were large holes in the roof where firefighters had hacked in to get at the embers.

Found dead inside the home were Saroya Karthikeyan, 50, and her husband, Srikaran Karthikeyan, 56. A third occupant of the home scrambled to safety out a window. The fire is considered criminally set and not accidental, pending further investigation, Montreal police Constable Lynne Labelle said. "The firefighters said they saw containers of accelerant inside the house but our investigators have not confirmed that," she said yesterday afternoon.

The couple had no record with police and officers had never been called to the house, Labelle added. A neighbour called 911 shortly after 1 a.m. to report flames at the house at the corner of Muir St. The fire department arrived shortly thereafter. The blaze was concentrated at the front of the house.

A 39-year-old man, a brother of the woman who died, climbed out a window at the rear of the house. He was taken to a hospital and treated for minor burns, Labelle said. Investigators interviewed him yesterday in the hope he could shed light on what happened.

Bavan Easwaran, a nephew of the dead couple, said his aunt and uncle had immigrated to Canada in 1983 and lived on Décarie Blvd. before they bought their house on Rochon eight years ago. Easwaran said his uncle, who escaped, "heard an explosion and then his room was on fire and he jumped out the window."

The couple were quiet and kept to themselves, neighbours said.

"I woke up and saw big flames coming from the house," said Vijityhaa Sanmuganathan, out shovelling her driveway at noon yesterday. "I knew this family to say hi to, and that they were Sri Lankan like me. They were good people."

Nina Artinian, who lives across from the couple on Rochon, was red-eyed and sleep-deprived as she cleared her walkway. "I haven't been to sleep since 1 a.m.," Artinian said after watching the fire. "I don't know why they could not save them. "They were very quiet. They didn't do anything to anyone. They were very nice people," she added, dissolving into tears.

Investigators removed the bodies late yesterday. Autopsies are to be performed. Once the coroner releases the bodies, the family will make funeral arrangements, Easwaran said.


asutherland@thegazette.canwest.com
© The Gazette (Montreal) 2008


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