Police charge 1 man, search for 2nd in arson during occupation of Ottawa

Ottawa police have charged a 21-year-old man with arson after a fire was set in an apartment building on Lisgar Street on Feb. 6, but say they have no information linking the accused to the so-called Freedom Convoy.

Accused not linked to so-called Freedom Convoy, police say

Security video obtained by a resident of an apartment building on Lisgar Street in downtown Ottawa appears to show what he describes as fireworks going off in the lobby in the early morning hours of Feb. 6. (Matias Munoz/Twitter)

Ottawa police have charged a 21-year-old man with arson in relation to a fire set in an apartment building on Lisgar Street on Feb. 6.

The incident prompted city politicians and some of the building's residents to link the event to the so-called Freedom Convoy protest, which occupied much of the city's downtown core for more than three weeks.

But police said Monday they had not uncovered any information that the man charged "was involved in any way with the Convoy protest which was going on when this arson took place."

The man, who is from Ottawa, is charged with arson with disregard for human life, arson causing property damage, mischief to property, mischief to property endangering life, and possessing incendiary material. 

Police are still looking for a second suspect in the incident and are asking anyone with information to contact police. 

A resident of the building who spoke to CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning in the days after the arson attempt said residents discovered fire-starting bricks in the lobby early that morning. 

He said he'd reviewed security footage and described seeing two individuals lighting a fire in the lobby.

The incident happened the same day the city declared a state of emergency over the ongoing protests in the downtown core.

The following day, during a city council meeting, Mayor Jim Watson included the arson in a list of harassments against residents and disruptions that he blamed on the ongoing protest.

Coun. Diane Deans also cited an alleged detail from witnesses — that the front door was duct-taped to prevent those outside from entering the building — which she said showed that the escalation of protester tactics knew no bounds.