Christopher James Cusack charged in Grand Forks Hotel fire
Grand Forks resident, Christopher James Cusack, 47, has been charged with two counts of arson endangering life in connection with the fires at the Grand Forks Hotel and the Winnipeg Hotel in the early morning hours of Wednesday, March 7.
Within two hours of the fires being reported, Grand Forks RCMP had Cusack in custody and by 8 p.m. that same night he had been formally charged.
“We were pretty quick with that one,” said Grand Forks RCMP Staff Sergeant Jim Harrison.
Cusack appeared in Rossland court on Thursday, March 8 and again today, Friday, March 9. Crown is seeking to keep Cusack in custody, which is where he is presently, until his trial.
If convicted, Cusack could face a maximum penalty of life in prison.
A burnt up crime scene can be a challenging place to gather evidence but a deputy fire investigator is on scene and has already recovered some evidence, said Harrison.
Rumours around town abound, including one about Clydes Pub on 2nd Street also having had a fire the same night, but police have found nothing to confirm that.
“Town is ripe with rumours which can prolong the investigation because we have to follow up on everything,” said Harrison.
What is left of the Grand Forks Hotel is slowly being demolished for safety reasons. The Winnipeg Hotel sustained smoke damage throughout.
About 20 people were misplaced by the fire, but no casualities or injuries were reported. Fire relief hampers are available at the Boundary Community Food Bank Society, should anyone need them.