Thursday , 5 August 2021

One man arrested for manslaughter and arson in Kokum’s House fire

A man has been charged with manslaughter and arson in connection to the fire that burned down Kokum’s House in Cold Lake.

Cold Lake RCMP released an update on Tuesday afternoon on the March 14th fire that claimed the life of Leslie Klassen, a resident of the men’s shelter.

On May 26, Cold Lake RCMP arrested Guillaume Gilbert for manslaughter and arson after a long investigation.

It included the Cold Lake GIS unit, Eastern District Crime Reduction Team supported by the Cold Lake Fire Department, the Cold Lake Patrol Members, St-Paul and Edmonton Forensic Identification Section, Forestry Crime Unit and “K” Division Digital Forensics Service Unit.

Gilbert had a judicial interim release hearing and was remanded into custody.

He is scheduled to attend court in Cold Lake on June 10, 2020.

The building suffered extensive damage inside with several residents being treated for smoke inhalation and related injuries.

Klassen was transported via STARS to an Edmonton hospital in critical condition and succumbed to his injuries while in care.

The Cold Lake Native Friendship Centre is looking to rebuild the men’s shelter and is seeking donations for the project.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.