The Devastation of a Single Spark: The 2011 Rooming House Fire in Winnipeg
The story of Lulonda Flett’s involvement in the torching of a Winnipeg rooming house provides insight into a tragedy that claimed the lives of five people. Flett was eventually sentenced to life in prison for the events that took place in July of 2011.
A massive fire engulfs a home in Winnipeg on July 16, 2011. 8 people were inside at the time, and tragically, 5 of them would lose their lives.
At the time of the fire, eight people were inside the home on Austin Street in Winnipeg’s Point Douglas neighborhood, including Flett’s sister-in-law who managed to escape unharmed. Court records show that the week prior to the fire, Flett was ordered by the courts to stay away from her sister-in-law.
Fire officials have said that the blaze likely started near the front entrance of the rooming house, which would have blocked a clear escape route for the occupants. The front of the building was fully engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived.
Police stated that a witness reported seeing someone using a flammable object to start the fire early Saturday morning. The accused was reportedly familiar with someone living in the rooming house. The fire at 288 Austin St. N., which claimed the lives of three men and a woman, was reported just before 2 a.m. CT Saturday. Four others, including two women and two men, managed to flee the home.
According to reports from neighbors, the rooming house frequently housed people struggling with addiction. Reid Douglas, Winnipeg’s deputy fire chief, reported that the house had recently been the subject of a fire safety investigation, but the issues had been resolved. The house had 13 rooms and was believed to have basement space that was used for sleeping.