Kingston Fire & Rescue crews responded to a partial building collapse at 652-670 Princess St, commonly known as the Carnovsky Bakery building, at around 4:30 a.m. on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2020. There were no injuries as a result of the collapse.
Princess St was closed between Macdonnell St and Nelson St for much of the morning as the investigation into the collapse continued.
The structure, which was vacant at the time, was under substantial renovation as part of a redevelopment project by IN8 Developments, which will include a ten storey, 350 unit, residential mid-rise project occupying the majority of the site.
According to City of Kingston records, the property was added to the City’s Heritage Register as a non-designated (listed) property of cultural heritage value in 2016. City records say the Carnovsky Bakery building was built circa 1849 and used primarily by Thomas Carnovsky, whose family operated a bakery in this building for more than 100 years. The City says the building is one of only two remaining buildings from the original 1842 plan for Williamsville.
The building was previously covered in stucco and ceramic tile cladding, and the limestone structure underneath had recently been exposed as part of the redevelopment.
The investigation continues and the area remains cordoned off, as a precaution, on Friday morning.
On Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, Daryl Firsten, Owner and President of IN8 Developments provided an update on the collapse and future plans for the site.
“Very early on Christmas morning IN8 Developments and the City of Kingston suffered a great loss. During the extensive renovation of the former Carnovsky’s Bakery at 670 Princess Street, the foundation of the North wall buckled causing the entire wall to collapse. The foundation of the West wall was also critically impacted, causing safety officials to order the demolition of that wall as well as it posed a risk to public safety. The East wall still stands and is undergoing further investigation to see if it can safely remain in place,” Firsten said in an email.
Firsten said the cause of the collapse was deemed to be the weakness of the foundation of the building, coupled with the extreme rain that fell that night. In the 24 hours proceeding the collapse, Kingston experienced 150 per cent of its average monthly precipitation for the month of December, he said.
“This water literally washed away the foundation. We are very fortunate that the collapse did not injure or even kill anyone,” Firsten continued. “IN8 Developments is deeply saddened by the collapse of this extremely rare heritage building that dates back to the 1830s. The building stood as a legacy to both the Carnovsky family, and the grit and determination of Kingston business owner and their perseverance over generations.”
Firsten indicated that IN8 Developments plans to rebuild the Carnovsky bakery building “back to its former glory.”
“With the guidance and approval of the city, our plan now is to rebuild the building as accurately as possible, using the original stone in order to replicate what has been lost by this tragedy,” he said.