Cornwall apartment fire caused by drug production; charges laid

Police tape cordons off the scene of an apartment fire on Sixth Street West in Cornwall, Ont. on Tuesday, June 16, 2020. A Cornwall man is facing charges of arson in connection to the fire. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – Following an investigation by the Ontario Fire Marshal, the Cornwall Police Service has laid criminal charges in connection to this month’s apartment fire on Sixth Street West.

Police announced today that 27-year-old Benjamin Irwin of Cornwall is facing four counts of arson and one count of production of cannabis resin in connection to the June 16 fire.

Police allege that a tenant was using “volatile substances” to extract cannabis resin from marijuana – a process to create so-called “shatter” – when it exploded.

Irwin was arrested yesterday (June 24), charged, and later released with an upcoming court date.

The fire caused extensive damage to one unit at 27-29 Sixth Street West and killed a dog and two cats. All the tenants managed to escape. One, presumably Irwin, was treated at hospital for serious burns.

Police are still looking for photos and videos in relation to the fire and are asking people to contact Det. Const. Gary Lee at 613-933-5000 extension 2705.

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