Unnamed fire victim was “by far” not homeless

by | Jan 16, 2024

Police not releasing name at request of family

The Woodstock Police Force again dispelled rumours that the victim of a shed fire at a Woodstock cemetery on Jan. 8 was homeless.

While investigators determined the identity of the victim, WPF Deputy Chief Mark Bennett said police would not release the man’s name at the request of the family.

“There’s no reason to release it,” Bennett said, noting the death is not considered criminal, and there’s no threat to the community.

The deputy chief dismissed widespread rumours that the fire victim was homeless,

According to the investigation, he was “by far” not homeless, explained Bennett.

“We can state he was not homeless,” he added.

Bennett understands how rumours and misinformation spread following such a tragedy, explaining people will fill in the blanks to suit their narrative.

Bennett said investigators determined where the man was and when he left before going to the shed at the cemetery.

“Why he went to the shed, we don’t know,” he said. “We may never know.”

Bennett said fire investigators are still trying to determine the exact cause of the fire,

Noting the fire destroyed all contents, if any, in the shed, Bennett explained no one was using the building.

“It was boarded up,” he said.

Bennett said the town’s compliance officer had checked on the building only a couple of weeks earlier.

Woodstock police responded to the fire scene on Cemetery Street, near Broadway, at 6:27 a.m. Monday, Jan. 8

The Woodstock Fire Department responded to the early morning fire call and successfully extinguished the blaze.

“During the inspection of the structure after the fire,” Woodstock police explained in a Jan. 8 news release, the body of one person was discovered, leading the Woodstock Police Force to

initiate an investigation into a sudden death.”

The Woodstock Police Force is collaborating with the NB Coroner Service, NB Fire Marshal’s Office, Woodstock Fire Department, RCMP K-9, and the Fredericton Police Force Forensic Identification Section to determine the source and cause of the fire.

The Woodstock Police Force encourages anyone in the area at the time of the fire or may have information to contact them at (506) 325-4601.

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