A sudden rash of sizable fires at vacant or unattended buildings in downtown Kingston continued with a fire in the early morning of Wednesday, Jul. 14, 2021.
At approximately 2 a.m., Kingston Fire and Rescue responded to reports of a structure fire on Dufferin Street in the city’s Inner Harbour area. Upon arrival, fire crews learned that the fire was actually on Rideau Street, which intersects Dufferin Street.
There, a detached two-car garage was fully engulfed, with flames shooting into the sky as smoke, once again, filled the neighbourhood. Crews work to knock down the blaze, and remained on scene for several hours, investigating and extinguishing hot spots. According to Kingston Fire and Rescue, a vehicle was inside the garage at the time of the fire.
Damages are estimated at $80,000. Currently, Kingston Fire and Rescue Inspectors and Kingston Police remain on scene investigating the cause of the fire. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Kingston Police at 613-549-4660.
The same address was the site of a reported fire on the afternoon of Saturday, Jul. 10, 2021, though there is no indication the two incidents are linked.
Over the past weeks and months, fires at vacant structures have taken place consistently. On Sunday, Jul. 11, 2021 a large fire took place at a vacant former factory site on Cataraqui Street, also in Kingston’s Inner Harbour. Kingston Fire and Rescue also attended the former ice depot on Cataraqui Street on Wednesday, Jun. 16, and Tuesday, Apr. 6, 2021.
And on Monday, Jul. 12, 2021, firefighters worked to put out a large fire in a Nelson Street garage, the address of which had been reportedly vacant for weeks, according to neighbours.
Kingstonist has asked Kingston Fire and Rescue if these fires are considered connected, however, at this time, the cause of all of these fires has yet to be determined and/or disclosed.
Kingstonist has also asked Kingston Fire and Rescue if lightning is suspected as a possible cause for the Rideau Street fire on the morning of Wednesday, Jul. 14, 2021, as many have speculated this due to the heavy thunderstorms overnight. At this time, Kingstonist has yet to receive concrete response to that inquiry, however, Kingston Fire and Rescue did provide some insight on this matter.
“The cause of the garage fire on Rideau Street remains under investigation. When a fire occurs during a storm, it’s standard procedure for investigators to consider and evaluate the possibility that weather may have played a role,” Kingston Fire and Rescue said in an email to Kingston. “This evaluation is undertaken with assistance from Environment Canada.”
At this time, the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal has not been contacted regarding any of these fires.
Kingstonist will update this article as more information becomes available.