The apartment building located at 381 Bagot Street has once again drawn the attention of local first responders after a chemical irritant was possibly released inside the building.
Kingston Fire and Rescue responded to the address on Friday, May 22, 2020 at approximately 10:50 a.m. after residents in the building reported a noxious odour making it difficult to breathe. Many of the residents evacuated the building, but were not ordered to do so by authorities, according to Kingston Police, who were called to assist Kingston Fire and Rescue at approximately 11 a.m. A number of residents in the building took to their balconies as police and fire fighters investigated the scene.
According to Const. Ash Gutheinz, Media Relations Officer for Kingston Police, the incident “may be related to a chemical irritant being dispersed in the building,” but the investigation remains ongoing. Residents on the scene speculated that the noxious odour was possibly bear spray.
Over the past two years, emergencies services have responded to calls at 381 Bagot Street repeatedly, sometimes multiple times in the same day. On Monday, May 11, 2020, a male was stabbed in a robbery that took place in the building. The following day, Tuesday, May 12, 2020, Kingston Police were called to the building after a dead fetus was found inside the building. Gutheinz confirmed this information and said that the Office of the Ontario Coroner is now investigating that case. There was also a stand-off with police after a man barricaded himself in the building in 2019. The building is run by Kingston Frontenac Housing Corporation, which, on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, merged with Town Homes Kingston, and is operated by the City of Kingston.
Since late 2017, Kingston Police have been dispatched to 381 Bagot Street 480 times at time of press. Of those calls, 58 were for suspicious activity, 15 for theft, 35 were domestic or family disputes, 27 were with regard to threats or harassment, 21 were for assaults, eight were for active fights, 16 were with regard to warrants, and two were offences involving weapons.
In 2019 alone, police were called to the building 220 times, and police have attended the building 103 times so far this year.
Kingstonist will update this article as more information becomes available.
With files from Lucas Mulder and Phillip Stafford.