Police charge man after King Street pedestrian bridge set on fire

·1 min read
Toronto police say they were called to the Liberty Village bridge with reports of a blaze at 7:55 p.m. on Friday. (Liberty Village residents association/Facebook  - image credit)
Toronto police say they were called to the Liberty Village bridge with reports of a blaze at 7:55 p.m. on Friday. (Liberty Village residents association/Facebook - image credit)

Toronto police have charged a man suspected of lighting a fire that damaged the King Street pedestrian bridge on Friday night.

Police said emergency services were called to the bridge that connects Douro Street in Liberty Village to Western Battery Road at 7:55 p.m. on Friday. People reported a blaze and "small explosions could be heard," a police spokesperson told CBC News.

Photos posted to a neighbourhood Facebook group show strong flames overtaking a section of the bridge.

The area was evacuated quickly, police said, and there have been no reported injuries. According to the police report, the fire was out by 8:30.

After an initial investigation, Ontario's Fire Marshall on Saturday deemed arson to be the cause of the fire.

On Sunday afternoon, Toronto police said in a news release that a Scarborough man, 28, has been charged with arson causing damage to property, common nuisance, mischief over $5,000 and possession of incendiary material.

The arrest and charges come a day after police released a video of the suspect, who they said allegedly set an unidentified amount of combustible material on fire, causing "significant damage" to the bridge.

The video showed a man in a dark coat and wearing a backpack walking near one of the entrances to the bridge at night.

The bridge over the Metrolinx rail corridor was closed as of Sunday evening at 5 p.m. to allow police to investigate and city engineers to evaluate its structural soundness. The city put up barriers to keep people out as its structural engineers evaluate "the condition of the bridge."

"Further inspections are required and are being coordinated as quickly as possible," city spokesperson Alex Burke said via email.

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