The New Haven Police Department deemed a fatal fire in Fair Haven a case of arson and may conclude that it was an act of triple-homicide.

The Wednesday morning fire took the lives of three of the apartment’s 15 residents, and initiated an ongoing NHPD investigation, department spokesman Joseph Avery said in an e-mail.

The fire began at approximately 1:30 a.m. Wednesday on the corner of Poplar and Wolcott Streets, at which point the New Haven Fire Department responded and rescued many of the building’s occupants. Reports of a dark-colored minivan fleeing the scene prompted NHPD Chief Frank Limon to begin the homicide investigation, according to the New Haven Independent.

As of Friday morning, there were no updates on the investigation, Avery said in an e-mail.

If the NHPD declares the three deaths homicides, New Haven’s 2011 murder toll would rise to eight. So far, the 2011 solved murder rate has been nearly perfect, but Thomas Wheeler, the NHPD assistant chief in charge of investigations, announced his retirement on Tuesday.