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Indian-origin couple, daughter killed in 'suspicious' fire in Canada


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OTTAWA: An Indian-origin couple and their teenage daughter were killed in a "suspicious" fire which tore through their home last week in Canada's Ontario province, police said on Friday.

A fire engulfed a home at the Big Sky Way and Van Kirk Drive area of Brampton on March 7, a press release by the Peel Police said.

After the blaze was put out, investigators located what was believed to be human remains within the gutted house, but the number of people killed couldn't be ascertained at the time.

The charred remains were on Friday identified as those of three family members: 51-year-old Rajiv Warikoo; his wife, 47-year-old Shilpa Kotha; and their 16-year-old daughter, Mahek Warikoo.

Police said that they resided at the address before the fire.

Peel police Constable Taryn Young on Friday said the fire had been deemed suspicious, the CTV news channel reported.

"At this time, we are investigating this with our homicide bureau, and we are deeming this as suspicious as the Ontario Fire Marshal has deemed that this fire was not accidental," the report quoted Young as saying.

"There's not much left to it," Young said when asked about the possible cause of the fire.

"Looking into something like that as a fire marshal, I'm sure it's very tough when there is not much left to look at. But we are exhausting all avenues," she said.

The deceased family's neighbour, Kenneth Yousaf, said that the family had lived on the street for about 15 years, and he never noticed any problems with them.

Yousaf said he was alerted to the fire last week by a family member, who heard a big "bang."

"When we came out, the house was on fire. So sad. Within a few hours, everything was down to the ground," the report quoted Yousaf as saying.

In a press release, police said they are continuing to investigate the deaths of the three family members and urged anyone with information to come forward.

"The circumstances surrounding the house fire remains the focus of an active investigation, and anyone with information or video footage (dashcam or otherwise) is urged to contact Homicide detectives," police said.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)