On Saturday, November 17th, a fire on Clive Avenue in Guelph claimed the life of 90 year old Walter Duda.  Duda was found in the basement.  An autopsy confirmed Dude died from smoke inhalation. 

Constable Mike Gatto, of Guelph Police, says foul play is no longer being considered, “it wasn’t arson.  We don’t believe there was foul play involved in this incident at all so at this point our investigation in complete.”

Duda is described as a quiet, friendly man.  The loss has been devastating for his family and the neighbours who knew him.  Shawne Radbourne lived nearby, “When they brought the stretcher out with nobody on it, you kind of figure.”

Fire investigators are still trying to pinpoint the cause, however.  Investigators believe the fire began in the basement and have ruled out the possibility of an electrical fire.  They’ve begun to focus on the fireplace in the basement. 

“It could have been burning embers.  It could have a spark that came out.  If he had lit it in the day before and a spark was smouldering somewhere – not really close to a combustible but close enough that over time it would have ignited it”, says Deputy Fire Chief John Osborne.

The Fire Marshall has also been on the scene a number of times and will be back to work with Guelph’s Fire Prevention team to determine the cause.

Damage is estimated to be $350,000.