Body found in apartment following fire is that of West Lorne woman: family

·2 min read

WEST LORNE — A body found in an apartment here the day after it was damaged by fire is that of a woman who lived there, a family member said Friday.

April Calcutt has been missing since flames filled the upper unit of the apartment on Graham Street early Wednesday.

Her sister, Tanya Lynn Summers, said the coroner's office confirmed Calcutt's identity to the family Friday afternoon.

Summers declined to comment further while the family tries to come to term with their loss.

“The investigation is still ongoing,” Elgin OPP Const. Troy Carlson said Friday. “Further details will be released when they become available.”

Police were still awaiting the results of a post-mortem to confirm the person's cause of death, he said.

The fire broke out about 7 a.m. Wednesday morning in the apartment in the small Elgin County community. But it wasn’t until Thursday morning that a body was found, police said.

How the person was missed during the initial response to the fire remains unclear.

West Elgin fire Chief Jeff McArthur said nothing was found during the initial search and rescue operation. He said crews encountered "heavy smoke conditions" at the scene.

The Ontario Fire Marshal is also investigating along with the OPP.

The fire marshal responds to requests from local fire departments and police if there’s a fatality, serious injury or significant damage.

Jeff Knight, who owns the Home Hardware just a few doors down from where the fire took place, said he saw the blaze while unloading shipments early Wednesday morning.

“We could see the flames and smoke coming out of the roof,” he said, adding firefighters arrived “very quickly” and had the fire put out before 8 a.m.

The West Lorne detachment of the West Elgin fire department is a block away from the site of the fire.

Responders from the Rodney station were also dispatched.

Although he doesn’t know them personally, Knight said a couple were the tenants of the unit. He said a man who lives there was outside when the fire broke out and ran in to try to find his girlfriend.

Knight said the residential units above the businesses are small.

Elgin OPP remained on scene Friday morning. Disaster restoration trucks were also located around the damaged apartment.

A small bouquet of pink flowers was left on the street in front of the apartment.

Knight said the fire and death have shocked the small West Lorne community.

“It’s the talk of the town,” he said.

With files from Dan Brown

The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Max Martin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press