Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Teenage patient blamed for fire at kids hospital

  • Print

A recent $1-million arson that forced the evacuation of Winnipeg's Children's Hospital was set by a teenage patient undergoing emergency treatment, the Crown alleged this week.

The boy, 16, appeared in youth court this week where prosecutors sought and won an order to hold him behind bars to undergo a psychological assessment despite opposition from his lawyer. He cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. He has no prior criminal record.

He's presumed innocent and denies being responsible for setting the March 5 fire, which forced nearly100 children, including patients in the neonatal and pediatric intensive care units to evacuate the building into other parts of the Health Sciences Centre complex.

In support of the request for the psychological exam, the Crown read in a synopsis of the facts of the blaze and the months-long police investigation leading to the teen's arrest.

The fire started in an under-construction diagnostic imaging centre adjacent to the hospital.

An "incendiary device" was used to set the fire, police have said.

The youth, who was being treated at Children's Hospital, slipped away from staff and was missing for a period of time, with security "on alert" to watch for him because he was deemed a "flight risk," according to the Crown.

He's suspected of gaining access to the construction site and setting fire to a tarp, which spread, causing "significant damage."

Judge Don Slough was told the youth was ultimately found on the third floor of the hospital and returned to the emergency room by security.

Due to being "combative" with guards, he was handcuffed, detained under the Mental Health Act and was found in possession of a lighter and a cellphone, court heard.

He was discharged soon after without issue.

Security footage played a role in the investigation, the Crown said.

The youth wasn't arrested until July 27 after he turned himself in to police accompanied by a relative.

He placed himself at the construction site, indicated he was holding a lighter and he saw nobody else there, the Crown said of the allegations arising out of his police interview.

"He got caught up in what could have been a tarp and the lighter could have lit the tarp on fire were his comments," Slough was told.

He was released on a promise to appear in court at a later date and with conditions to abstain from drugs and alcohol.

An out-of-custody court date was set for Sept. 24, but he was taken into custody and held at the Manitoba Youth Centre last week after police found him heavily intoxicated at a Keewatin Street gas station early on Aug. 27, court heard.

He had to be taken to hospital for evaluation because of his impairment, Slough was told.

Defence lawyer Candace Olson opposed keeping the youth locked up pending the psych exam, saying her client saw two mental-health professionals while at the Children's Hospital and they found no concerns.

"He has been assessed for issues that have been underlying. There was nothing found to be a problem," Olson said.

"Well, I'm concerned," said Slough. "The forensic assessment is appropriate on whether or not you pose a risk should the court be asked to consider your release on bail," he said.

The assessment will take about a week to complete, court heard.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 5, 2013 A3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Chief Clunis denies link between internal sexual-harassment investigation and Tina Fontaine case

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A young goose   reaches for long strands of grass Friday night near McGillvary Blvd-See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 19 - May 23, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Winnipeg’s best friend the dragon fly takes a break at English Gardens in Assiniboine Park Wednesday- A dragon fly can eat  food equal to its own weight in 30 minutes-Standup photo- June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Are you still on the Bombers' and Jets' bandwagons?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google