Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bathhouse fire was arson: police

Arson was the cause of a fire at a Winnipeg bathhouse that killed two men, police said Tuesday. One of the two men was Steven Yablonski (pictured), a popular local drag queen, who went by the name Kerri O'Kee.

CBC reports:
Steven Yablonski , 23, of Winnipeg and a Saskatchewan man, Robert Clark, 62, died in the Oct. 11 blaze at Aquarius Bath House on Notre Dame Avenue. Const. Jason Michalyshen confirmed Tuesday that both men died of smoke inhalation. The fire broke out at 7 a.m. on the second floor of the 12,000-sq. ft. facility. Homicide investigators are now leading the investigation and are working to identify suspects, said Const. Jason Michalyshen Tuesday.

Police are asking any patrons of the bathhouse who may have been present the morning of the fire and have not yet spoken with investigators to call 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477). Squad cars have been parked outside the bathhouse — a popular spot in Winnipeg's gay community — for the last several days. Police said they were there holding the scene for investigators. Michalyshen wouldn't comment on a possible motive for the arson, but said there's no evidence to show it was a hate crime. READ MORE