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Arrest made in suspicious house fire

Police have arrested a 28-year-old woman in connection with a Dec. 9 house fire on Molesworth Road in Wellesley Village.

Julie MacLennan was charged Monday with ‘arson by negligence,’ ‘production of cannabis resin’ and ‘possession of cannabis resin.’ She was released on a promise to appear in court Mar. 4.

Investigators probing the house fire discovered a quantity of marijuana and some equipment related to the trade.

Following a fire at 1020 Molesworth St. on the evening of Dec. 9, investigators executed a search warrant and found five containers of marijuana as well as items that are typically used in the marijuana-extraction process, whereby chemicals and heat are applied to marijuana plant material for the purpose of converting it into hashish, hash resin or hash oil.

MacLennan, a tenant of the Molesworth home, managed to escape the blaze. She was later treated for smoke inhalation. Police are also looking for two men seen running from the house at the time, their clothes on fire. After rolling on the ground to extinguish the flames, both fled the scene, one in a dark-coloured pickup truck and the other on foot.

Police are requesting the public’s assistance in locating and identifying the men. Whether and how the two men were in some way related to MacLennan or the alleged drug operation in the home is part of the ongoing investigation.

“We have not referred to them as suspects because we don’t know if they have any connection to the actual fire and/or the production of the cannabis resin, but we know that … two males were seen leaving the house at the time and initially, because they were seen with flames coming out of their clothing our first concern was for their safety, but also at this point we  are still interested in speaking with them,” said police spokesperson Olaf Heinzel.

Police hope news of  MacLennan’s arrest might encourage witnesses to come forward.

“Perhaps this latest piece of information … may jog somebody’s memory of having seen something unusual; the added publicity that this might get will hopefully trigger some information,” said Heinzel.

“No piece of information is too small; anyone who thinks they have any information that somehow could relate back to who was there that night and what occurred, we’d certainly welcome and appreciate hearing from them.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the Division 1 detective office at (519) 650-8500, ext. 4438, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

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