An allegedly purposely lit blaze that gutted a southwest home owned by a former president of a major oil company could have been set by two Molotov cocktails, say neighbours.

“They (police) told us that it was two Molotov cocktails,” said Myron Skwarok who lives across the street from the gutted home at 1744 Bearspaw Dr. W.

“We don’t know if it was random, or if it was something against the company. This really worries me.”

Fire crews were called to the home shortly after 8 p.m. Saturday after neighbours in the upscale cul-de-sac heard a large bang, say firefighters.

The house, owned by former Syncrude president Jim Carter, was completely engulfed, almost immediately destroying the garage and the entire front end of the home, say firefighters.

The blaze, “originating outside the front of the home and the interior front window,” caused $850,000 in damages, said fire investigator Rod Lewis yesterday.

“This case has been turned over to the Edmonton Police Service’s arson unit — it is in their hands now,” said Lewis who couldn’t confirm if the home was attacked by Molotov cocktails.
“No one was inside when the fire started.”

Fire investigators were seen using sniffing dogs around the badly charred home yesterday to determine if a liquid was used to ignite the flames.

Skwarok said Carter and his family are doing OK and he’s financially “well off” to deal with the aftermath of the fire.

“He’s a very nice man and he always goes out of his way to help his neighbours,” said Skwarok.

“We’ve never had anything like this happen in this neighbourhood. It’s devastating; my wife is still pretty upset. She didn’t get any sleep.”

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