Guelph student who streamed apparent suicide attempt, fire, faces charges
A University of Guelph student who broadcast an apparent suicide attempt to an audience of 200 people is facing a criminal charge.
Guelph Police allege the student, a 21-year-old man from Orangeville, intentionally started the Nov. 30 fire in the school’s Dundas Hall residence.
The entire event is believed to have been a suicide attempt, broadcast online to a worldwide audience of 200 people – the maximum number allowed in the chat room hosting the broadcast.
In the video of the event, a male student is seen moving around a dorm room. He then takes a number of pills and drinks vodka before climbing into bed.
After approximately eight minutes, flames are seen spreading in the corner of the room. The video continues for about 20 minutes until rescue workers arrive at the scene.
Firefighters were able to put out the fire, but dozens of students were displaced and the residence remains damaged.
The student was taken to hospital with injuries described as serious but not life-threatening.
Four other people were taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.
The 21-year-old student is facing a charge of arson with disregard for human life, and will appear in court in January.
Police say they feel the charge is appropriate regardless of the man’s mental state.
“We certainly felt that, with the risk to all those people at the residence were put into, this charge was warranted,” says Const. Mike Gatto.
“Had that fire gotten out of control, had that fire not been spotted, recognized and dealt with quickly … we could be looking at a much greater story here.”
Most students have returned to their rooms, but seven remain displaced due to the investigation into the fire.
All students are leaving the university at the end of the week for Christmas break, and university officials say when they return, they’ll have the option of going back to Dundas Hall or being accommodated elsewhere.
With files from CTVNews.ca