Barrie police: Man faces arson charges after four overnight fires

The first blaze was at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church

Barrie police say a man was arrested and charged with arson after four fires Sunday night in the downtown area.

Just before 10:30 p.m., an officer was on general patrol and passed by St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, located at 47 Owen Street, and observed Barrie firefighters on scene of an active fire at the rear of the church. Additional officers attended and provided traffic-related assistance while the fire was being extinguished.

Per a release from St. Andrew’s, the Ontario Fire Marshal is investigating the cause, and the building will be closed for church and community meetings until further notice.

“This is devastating to our church family – but we will work through this with faith and hope,” said Rev. Joanne Lee. “We know the God who has been sufficient until now should be trusted to the end.”

Police say a second fire was reported at 11:08 p.m. in a stairwell of a parking lot at 90 Collier Street.

Then at 11:36 p.m., officers say a third call was received for garbage cans that were on fire between 27-29 Dunlop St. West. These fires were put out by local business owners.

According to police, they then sought a suspect who was identified through the investigative process. While doing so, a fourth fire was located just before midnight in a pile of discarded garbage bags near 101 Dunlop Street West. The fire was small and was extinguished by police.

Officers say a 37-year-old from Barrie, of no fixed address, was located and arrested at 12:42 a.m.

He faces charges including three counts of arson and failing to comply with a probation order.

The accused was held in custody and will appear by video for a bail hearing later today.

Banner image via Michael Chorney / At the Scene Photography