Man facing attempted murder charges following Princess St fire

Kingston Police and Kingston Fire & Rescue on Princess St following a structure fire. Photo via First Response Media.

The Ontario Fire Marshall is investigating and a male is facing three charges of attempted murder, one count of arson endangering life and two breaches of Undertaking after a derelict building located at 559 Princess St that had occupants inside was set on fire, according to Kingston Police.

Between 10:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 a fire began at the building, located on Princess St between Alfred St and Frontenac St. Three people and a pet dog inside the structure were able to quickly escape without injury. Kingston Fire and Rescue attended on scene to extinguish the fire and Kingston Police uniform patrol, forensic identification and detectives became involved in the investigation. The Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) is also investigating the origin and cause of the fire.

The suspect, identified by Kingston Police as Zachary Beamish, fled the scene but at approximately 2:30 p.m. Beamish was observed downtown by a member of the Kingston Police Street Crime Unit and was arrested without incident. He was transported to the police station and held overnight. On March 26 a video remand hearing occurred and Beamish was remanded into custody until a later court date.

While no further suspects are being sought the investigation is still ongoing and detectives would like to speak to anyone who has information about the incident, the accused, or any utterances that Beamish may have made before or after the fire. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Jason Alblas at [email protected] or 613-549-4660 ext. 6267.

Investigation underway at 559 Princess St following a fire at the site. Photo via First Response Media.

The full extent of the fire is still under investigation and an estimate on the dollar value of the damage has not been released.

The building is a former Ontario Addictions Treatment Centre. It sits beside a former Gino’s Pizza & Spaghetti restaurant which has also been vacant since 2015 and also the subject of several fires begun by trespassers. That building, at 557 Princess St, was the site of a fire on Christmas Eve in 2018 which sent one man to hospital, and two previous fires have taken place at that location since 2015.

3 thoughts on “Man facing attempted murder charges following Princess St fire

  • Can the city not just bulldoze the building? Someone is going to die in there…

    • Nothing can be done with that particular property until the City issues the building permits.

    • I think they can only authorize it if the building and/or fire inspector determine it to be an *immediate* (as in, not on the verge of collapse) threat to human life or property; if the property is privately owned, that would mean they would be putting the city as risk of being sued.

      I remember seeing an old farmhouse on Highway 2 that was abandoned for at least two decades, and was burned by arson nearing the end of that period. Not long after that, the building was completely and beautifully restored, and, to my knowledge, the property was never sold before or during that time.

      In reality, anyone who is squatting in abandoned structures are trespassing, and they enter the property knowing that risk.

      The issues with addressing the homeless problem in this city and the country is another completely different conversation, however, and I can’t fault the homeless for trying to find a place to sleep away from the cold.

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