Renfrew – Several uniformed and plainclothes members of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) descended on a residence located at 280 Lochiel Street last Thursday morning and took a man into custody while members of the Renfrew Fire Department dealt with a fire on the second floor of the building.
Brandan McCannan faces three charges following his arrest. He was charged with theft under $5,000; arson: recklessly damaging property not owned by the accused and obstruction.
Around 10:45 a.m., the first of several marked OPP cruisers raced to the residential neighbourhood located two blocks south of the downtown core and immediately blocked entry to the intersection of Prince Avenue and Lochiel Street directly adjacent to the site.
The building is a fourplex apartment dwelling with lower and upper individual units. When police arrived they forcibly entered the front door facing Prince Avenue and rushed up the stairs. At the same time, they entered the complex, heavy brown smoke could be seen billowing from two windows in the upper half of the building.
Members of the Renfrew Fire Department were on scene within minutes and arrived with four apparatus and 12 firefighters. As they were preparing to enter the unit, five OPP officers emerged through the front door accompanying Mr. McCannan. He was placed in handcuffs and escorted to a cruiser. Once the OPP signaled it was safe to enter, firefighters entered the residence and made their way to the second floor.
It was determined an air conditioner in one of the upper units was the source of the fire and it was quickly extinguished. There were no injuries, but an individual who resides at the building was transported to Renfrew Victoria Hospital with possible smoke inhalation.
A member of the Renfrew County Paramedic Service checked on the condition of the male suspect in custody and determined no further medical aid was needed.
In total, five marked OPP cruisers and three unmarked police vehicles were present as well as members of the Renfrew OPP’s Community Street Crime Unit (CSCU) were on scene during the arrest of Mr. McCannan.
After he was transported to the Renfrew OPP Detachment, he was formally charged with the three offences. The charge of arson was laid because it is alleged he intentionally started a fire and further, he does not own the property where he resides.
For regular arson, the maximum sentence is 14 years. However, if the person knows that the property that is set fire to is occupied or causes bodily harm to someone, he or she could be liable to life imprisonment.
The accused appeared before Justice Clayton McKechnie on Friday in the Ontario Court of Justice for a bail hearing. He entered a plea of “not-guilty” on all counts.
When Justice McKechnie asked for bail recommendations, the Crown asked for any bail request to be denied and for the accused to remain in custody. When asked by Justice McKechnie what detailed plan he would present before the court, Mr. McCannan indicated he had none.
Justice McKechnie wasted no time in his decision and ruled for him to remain in custody. He told the court he had no intention of releasing him into the community without a plan. As he was led out of the courtroom, he told Justice McKechnie to “f**k o*f.”
Without missing a beat, Justice McKechnie ignored the comment and immediately said ‘next case.’
Mr. McCannan will remain in custody pending his next bail hearing.
Bruce McIntyre, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader