Man arrested in connection with Charlottetown fire

Jim Day
Published on May 8, 2015

Police have arrested a man in connection with a Charlottetown fire Friday that sent three people to hospital and have left 11 people displaced.

Charlottetown Police Services Sgt. Chris Watts says a 50-year-old Charlottetown man has been arrested for arson. The man is expected to appear before a justice of the peace Saturday in provincial court.

"The level of charges may escalate depending on the results of the investigation,'' says Watts.

The sergeant says the man who was arrested is known to all of the tenants in the building located at the corner of Prince Street and Grafton Street. He is also known to police.

Watts says the investigation "appears to be progressing in a timely fashion.''

He says the fire began on the third floor and nothing at this point indicates forced entry.

Further investigation is needed to determine the cause and origin of the fire, says Charlottetown Deputy Fire Chief Tim Mamye.

Mamye says two young men and a woman were taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

Some tenants left the apartments in their pyjamas and bare feet.

The Canadian Red Cross is arranging for emergency lodging, food and clothing for all 11 tenants.

Mamye says firefighters arrived at about 6:30 a.m.

The blaze caused extensive damage to the top floor of the building and smoke and water damage to the lower two floors.

The building houses several apartments and a groundfloor barber shop. There had been plans to open a Lebanese restaurant on the ground floor next to the barber shop.

The barber shop is owned by Rose Savard. She moved into the location in 2007, 10 days after her shop burned to the ground a block away in a major fire that destroyed several businesses and apartments at the corner of Prince Street and Grafton Street.

Savard was able to reopen less than two weeks later in her current location.

Roughly 35 firefighters helped battle the blaze Friday morning at 144 Prince Street across the street from The Guardian offices.

Mamye says the fire proved stubborn because the older building has a lot of void spaces. Firefighters needed  to  rip down a lot of the interior structure.

Prince Street was closed to traffic between Kent and Grafton Streets for several hours.