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Parkdale highrise fire leads to arson charge

Toronto man charged after tires set ablaze in apartment

Toronto Star - October 14, 2010

Tamara Baluja


A Toronto man faces three charges after he allegedly set tires ablaze in an apartment and rappelled from an 11th floor balcony in an attempt to escape.
When emergency services arrived to 22 Close Ave. on Thursday at 1:45 a.m., they found an 11th floor unit on fire, Toronto police said.
“It is alleged that the accused used a tire and refrigerator to barricade the apartment door, and a tire to barricade the balcony doors,” Det. Vivian Meik said in a release. An accelerant was used to set the tires on fire, police said.
Police didn’t say why the man had two tires in his apartment.
The man allegedly then slid down the balcony onto the 10th floor with the help of a tenant on that floor.
Police said the man fled through the lobby of the building at Jameson Ave. and Lake Shore Blvd. W. and was driven away in an unknown vehicle.
“Tenants tried to put out the fire, but were unable to get into the apartment,” Meik said.
An hour later, police approached a man in the Lake Shore Blvd. W.-Bathurst St. area. A struggle ensued after an officer tripped and the accused allegedly tried to pull at the officer’s handgun, police say.
Eventually with the help of a second police officer and an EMS paramedic, the suspect was placed under arrest.
Murat Belir, 29, faces charges of arson, with a disregard for human life, assault with intent to resist arrest and disarming a peace officer.