Suspicious fire tears through SQ chief's cabin
Published Saturday, December 28, 2013 11:23AM EST
Last Updated Saturday, December 28, 2013 6:41PM EST
MONTREAL - The Montreal police arson squad is investigating after a suspicious fire early Saturday destroyed a chalet partly owned by the head of the Surete du Quebec.
The blaze began at the cabin in St. Come, about 110 kilometres north of Montreal, around 3:30 a.m.
It was burned to the ground, says CTV Montreal's Maya Johnson.
One of the chalet’s owners is Mario Laprise, director general of the SQ. The other co-owners are also in the law enforcement field.
The Montreal police were asked to step in to ensure transparence, due to the connection with the SQ.
André Leclerc of the Montreal police said there were numerous “elements” at the scene of the fire, found by firefighters and local SQ officers, which suggested the fire may have been intentionally set.
He said at this point, there are no suspects. The team will be going door-to-door to speak to neighbours and will also search the area to look for information as part of the investigation.
No one was injured and the cause of the fire has yet to be determined.
The fire comes weeks after a Journal de Montreal investigation found that Laprise’s good friend Bruno Beaulieu, an former SQ investigator who co-owns the chalet with Laprise, is heading a probe into alleged criminal misspending by the former head of the SQ.
The story states Laprise told the public security ministry, which assembled the team of independent investigators to look into the alleged misspending, about his friendship with Beaulieu, with one anonymous source quoted as saying the two are “very close.”
According to the report, five partners paid $410,000 in total for the chalet, which used to be owned by Laprise and his ex-wife. Each partner owns 20 per cent of the property.
They set up a company called "Le chalet des cinq" in August 2013 in order to reach people who wanted to rent the property, says the story.
The cabin was reserved from Saturday until Tuesday, according to the company website. It can accommodate 30 people and has 12 rooms.
-- with files from La Presse Canadienne