MONTREAL—The scorched body of a woman in her 40s was found in the basement of a home in the Chomedey sector of Laval on Tuesday night.

Police are investigating and believe that arson could be to blame for the death. The woman’s remains were found by firefighters after they extinguished a small fire at the residence at 4452 3rd street.

Firefighters arrived on the scene soon after 9:25 p.m. after being alerted to smoke by a neighbour. According to the Laval fire department, the body was so badly burned that first responders had trouble determining the sex of the victim.

According to the police spokeswoman Giovanna Di Biase, a gas canister was found in the basement of the home and could be responsible for the blaze. Investigators will need to determine if the fire was a suicide, accident or homicide.