Elderly man renting Brampton basement suffered trauma unrelated to fire before his death
A fire in the basement of a house in Brampton brought police and paramedics to 24 Pennyroyal Crescent at 1:33 p.m. on July 2. They found an elderly man with “obvious signs of trauma” and no vitals.
The victim died shortly after and the home soon turned into a crime scene. New information suggests the fire was not the cause of death.
After Fire services addressed the immediate dangers, Peel Police’s Criminal Investigations Bureau and the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal (OFM) initiated an investigation. Three days later, 26-year-old Julius Adigun, who lived at the same address, was charged with arson and second-degree murder and taken into custody. “They had to find him, and it would appear that there was a medical issue going on,” Tyler Bell-Morena, a Peel Police media relations officer, told The Pointer.
After the fire The Pointer visited the house and spoke with a man who opened the front door of the semi-detached home in the north-east area of Brampton. He said the 80-year-old man who passed away used to rent the basement. Peel Police confirmed that both Adigun and the elderly man were living together in the basement where the fire broke out, and that at least two other people resided in the house. While it was clear the now deceased man had clear signs of trauma, Bell-Morena later told The Pointer the injuries that caused his death were “not related to the fire.”
“Being in the fire caused injuries, of course, so whether it's smoke inhalation like burns, obviously that plays a role, but there's trauma that existed that's not related to the fire,” he said. When asked what these specific signs of trauma were, Bell-Morena said he could not disclose such information. Immediately after being taken into custody, Adigun was given a bail hearing.
An elderly man renting a basement unit on Pennyroyal Crescent was suffering from injuries unrelated to the fire that broke out in the home on July 2.
(Samanah Ali/The Pointer)
As of July 14, 18 houses on Pennyroyal Crescent appear on the City of Brampton’s official list of legally registered two-unit dwellings, but 24 Pennyroyal, where the fire broke out, is not listed. “Two plus two equals it's probably not a legitimate unit,” Bell-Morena said. Basement apartments, also known as Additional Residential Units (ARU) or secondary units, that have not gone through inspections and are not registered are considered illegal.
While it is still possible that the basement is in the process of being registered, fire breakouts from illegal basements have become an unfortunate trend in Brampton.
According to data published in the City of Brampton’s 2020 Fire Master Plan from Brampton Fire and Emergency Services, 19 fires started in illegal basement apartments between 2019 and 2020. Out of 68 fires in that same period where basement apartments were found, only eight, or 12 percent were registered with the City. In 2019 alone, the City received 1,566 complaints about unregistered and illegal basement apartments or second units.
As of July 2, there were 1,142 complaints associated with secondary units being investigated by City of Brampton staff.
(City of Brampton)
One of the common violations in illegal basement units is the absence of a smoke alarm. Peel Police could not confirm whether there was a smoke alarm present in the basement unit at the Pennyroyal Crescent home, as it “didn’t play a role in the charges that were laid.”
“The only people that went in from the police would be our forensics identification officers and any detectives investigating the role,” Bell-Morena said, adding there was very little information in the reporting of the incident. “If this was just an arson, for example, where nobody died, there'd be so much more information in the occurrence, but because it's a homicide, there's less because the specifics and the details required are handled by the investigators and the Crown.”
Adigun is still currently in Police custody.
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