Kingston Police looking for person of interest in downtown arson investigation

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Kingston Police looking for person of interest in downtown arson investigation
WATCH: Police are looking for more video from businesses or residents that may help identify the person – Aug 15, 2022

It’s nearly been two weeks since a fire ravaged a building in downtown Kingston, impacting the businesses inside.

The owners of Modern Primitive say their losses could be in the $100,000-150,000 range and they have no idea when they’ll be able to open again.

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“We’re in the midst of this part of the process right now, being that it’s a heritage building we have an understanding these processes take an extra long time,” says Modern Primitive co-owner Derek Morley.

While dealing with the challenge of a destroyed business, Morley says they are trying to keep their three downtown employees working.

“Tried to shift some staff today to the Cataraqui Centre store and share some hours there and shift some staff to Smiths Falls, but that’s quite a drive,” Morley says.

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Next to Modern Primitive is Amanda’s House of Elegance. Amanda Stewart’s damages are less, but still over $10,000.

Stewart says she only had to close for one day, but thinks she’s losing some of her usual business during tourist season — her busiest time of year.

“We’re still getting phone calls asking us if we’ve opened up yet, so that is hurting us too,” Stewart says.

It was late last week that Kingston Fire and Rescue turned the investigation over to Kingston Police, as fire officials suspect the cause of the fire is arson.

Kingston Police have released footage of what they are calling a ‘person of interest,’ that left the area around the time that the fires start — just before 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 4.

“We’re attempting to locate other video in the downtown core around that time,” says Kingston Police Const. Dave Wein.

“The person was last seen going west up Princess Street on the north side of the road,” Wein continues. “Wearing like a brown top, it’s like a dress halfway up the shins.”

Wein says police are hoping for video that might allow them to identify the individual.

Meanwhile, Stewart says discovering the fire is potentially arson is difficult to believe.

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“It’s really shocking to hear that we would have something like that done to a local business, locally owned business,” she says. “I just really hope they are wrong.”

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Morley views the destruction as a senseless act.

“It’s kind of a sad thing, the careless destruction of something that is really valuable and meant a lot to a lot of people,” he says.

Morley says, whether the store is open or not, they do plan to at least have an outdoor presence for the Princess Street Promenade coming up in September.

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