By Steve BuistThe Hamilton Spectator
Fri., July 13, 2018
A fire that killed a retired Dundas couple early Monday morning is now considered a double homicide by Hamilton police.
The blaze at 8 Greening Ct. was deliberately set, according to Staff Sgt. Steve Bereziuk of Hamilton police’s major crime unit.
Carla Rutherford, 65, was pronounced dead at the scene after being pulled from her home by firefighters.
Her husband, Alan Rutherford, 64, was badly burned but managed to escape and knock on a neighbour’s door for help. He was taken to hospital in critical condition and died hours later Monday afternoon.
“These were innocent victims who would have suffered sheer terror,” Bereziuk said during a brief news conference Friday afternoon at Hamilton police’s Central station.
Bereziuk declined to speak about a motive or potential suspects.
“The route, naturally, is to look at people closest to the family,” Bereziuk said, adding that the family has been co-operative so far.
“This is likely to be a very lengthy investigation,” he added.
Bereziuk said it’s believed the fire, which broke out around 3:45 a.m. Monday, started in a bedroom at the back of the single-storey house, located on a small court near Dundas Driving Park.
Bereziuk declined to answer questions about the cause of the fire or other specific details, such as whether the house had functioning smoke detectors, because they related to evidence in the case.
The fire scene was held for approximately four days while an initial investigation was undertaken by police and the Office of the Fire Marshal.
Bereziuk said evidence collected at the scene led to the police’s belief the couple was killed deliberately.
“We believe this was targeted,” Bereziuk said.
According to Bereziuk, the couple met at Hamilton Health Sciences, where they had both worked before retiring, and they had been together about 20 years.
They were avid members of the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club. Alan was a model plane aficionado and Carla was a talented quiltmaker.
“They’re tremendous people,” Bereziuk said.
Hamilton police are asking anyone with information about the fire or anyone who knew the victims to contact Det. Ben Adams at (905) 546-3836. Information can also be provided anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Police are also asking anyone with surveillance video in the area to check and call police if they see anything out of the ordinary.