The death of a woman whose body was in a Jansen Ave. fire earlier this week is being actively pursued as a murder investigation.
The body of Balwinder Kaur, 44, was found Valentine's Day in her home in the Avenel section of Woodbridge, after passersby saw flames shooting out of the bay window in the front of the house where she lived with her husband and two teenaged children.
Sources close to the investigation hinted early on that there was a strong possibility, because of the nature of the fire, that arson may have been involved. Officials investigating the fire did not immediately release the name, age, or sex of the victim.
Kaur apparently was already dead before the fire engulfed the house, according to county investigators.
She was "physically attacked and was the victim of a homicide," said Jim O'Neill, spokesman for the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office, in a press release.
O'Neill also confirmed that both Woodbridge Police and investigators at the prosecutor's office are investigating whether the fire was "intentionally set."
The living room area of the new two-story house was engulfed in flames, according to witnesses. The garage door was open, and the upper windows of the home opened to rid the building of smoke as firefighters crowded around the structure.
Chief Dan Mizak of the Avenel Fire Dept., located just a few blocks away from the Jansen Ave. house, said that a few of the squad members who were coming home from their day jobs saw the blaze and tried to put it out with a garden hose after calling 911. The fire was reported at 4:48 pm.
Four fire companies arrived at the scene to put out the blaze. The body of the victim was found inside the house - according to one onlooker, close to the front door of the building - and was taken outside. Kaur's body was placed under a tarp, and she was declared dead at the scene.
Anyone with information on the fire or the victim is asked to call Detective Shayne Bodnar of the Woodbridge Police Department at 732-634-7700, or Investigator Michael Daniewicz of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-745-4018.