Fire marshals and police investigators probe the scene of a Sydney Mines house fire on Wednesday. The blaze at the Oxford Avenue home happened Aug. 4, three weeks after a woman living at the address was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in connection with a vehicle-pedestrian incident on the same street.
©DAVID JALA/CAPE BRETON POST
SYDNEY MINES, N.S. — Investigators spent much of Wednesday probing the scene of a suspicious fire at the home of a Sydney Mines murder suspect.
Members of the Cape Breton Regional Police Service’s forensic team worked alongside local fire marshals as they investigated the Aug. 4 blaze that appeared to cause significant damage to both the interior and exterior of the Oxford Avenue house that was the last known address of Kimberley Ann O’Dea.
The 35-year-old woman was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and criminal negligence following the death of her former partner, Dana Marie Jessome, 28, who died from injuries sustained on July 14 when she was struck by a vehicle on Oxford Avenue, a quiet tree-lined street in the heart of Sydney Mines.
The ongoing presence of investigators at the house, surrounded by yellow crime scene tape and protected by security guards, is fuelling speculation the blaze may be connected to Jessome’s death.
But police spokesperson Desiree Vassallo said no further information will be released until the investigators are finished at the scene.
“Once they’ve done that and officially determine what they think the cause is, whether it is suspicious of not, then it would be referred to us for investigation,” said Vassallo.
Meanwhile, a small shrine, including flowers and some rainbow coloured stones, sits curbside near the location where Jessome — whose birthday was the day before her death — was struck on Oxford Avenue.
At the time of the incident, Jessome was under a court order to have no contact with O’Dea, who has been in remand at the Cape Breton Correctional Centre since her arrest and is scheduled to have a bail hearing on Friday. The hearing will be held in Supreme Court as only a justice of that court has the authority to preside over bail hearings for those accused of murder offenses.
In a court appearance earlier this month, Crown prosecutor Gerald MacDonald presented the court with the names of 17 individuals with whom O’Dea is to have no contact.