Over the weekend, residents living just north of Concession Street/Stephen Street and east of Division Street found themselves in the midst of a distressing situation, and City officials have now provided an explanation for an incident that affected hundreds of residents in the area.
At approximately 6:45 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, an array of emergency responders converged on Joseph Street, just east of Division Street. Kingston Police, Kingston Fire & Rescue, and Frontenac Paramedic Services all attended the scene, where police shut down Joseph Street for approximately four hours.
As the evening went on, the atmosphere suddenly changed when the flashing lights from emergency response vehicles became the only source of light in the neighbourhood. At approximately 9 p.m., the power in the area surrounding Joseph Street abruptly went out. In total, about 272 households were affected by the power outage. Power was quickly restored to much of the affected area, apart from buildings on Joseph Street. At the time, Utilities Kingston classified the cause of the power outage as “other foreign interference.” Meanwhile, it remained unclear why Kingston Fire & Rescue remained on scene, as there was no fire, and the firefighters present remained largely inactive.
As Kingston Fire & Rescue, Utilities Kingston, and Kingston Police began to respond to inquiries, a clearer picture developed. Utilities Kingston said they could not comment on the power outage, referring Kingstonist inquiries to Kingston Police, but the local fire department confirmed that they had attended the scene to support Kingston Police.
“This call was to assist police with a person in distress. The incident required electricity to be turned off as a lifesaving precaution,” Kingston Fire & Rescue relayed on Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, noting they could not comment further.
On Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, Kingston Police echoed the fire department’s statement.
“Our officers were responding to an individual in distress,” said Const. Anthony Colangeli, acting Media Relations Officer for Kingston Police. Colangeli noted that part of the incident involved a hydro pole, so electricity was cut to the area “for the safety of the individual involved.”
This incident points to the wide variety of calls for service that Kingston Police, Kingston Fire & Rescue, and Frontenac Paramedics respond to in the community; it also highlights how keeping the community safe can take many different forms. There was no risk to public safety at any time, Colangeli confirmed, and the individual in distress was connected with the proper resources and given the care required for their needs at the time. While Kingston Police do not like to comment on matters that are sensitive and private to the individuals involved — particularly when those matters do not impact the public in general — Colangeli said they recognized the need to address what had occurred on Saturday night, so that those affected and concerned by it would gain at least some understandng of the nature of the incident.