A Pincher Creek man is before the courts after two buildings in the community were destroyed by fire in separate incidents Jan. 9.
Michael Patterson, 35, is charged with two counts of arson in connection with blazes that broke out just minutes apart at Dano’s Hydro Heaven, at the corner of East Avenue and Kettles Street downtown, and inside a home in the 600 block of Adelaide Street.
Investigation indicated that accelerants had been used at both locations, Pincher Creek RCMP said.
Patterson also faces charges of assaulting a peace officer with a weapon and disarming/attempting to disarm a peace officer at the time of his arrest while fleeing the scene of the residential fire.
Specific details have yet to be released, but witnesses to the downtown fire said they heard a large blast just after 5 p.m., the impact buckling the west wall of the hydroponics business.
Fire crews arriving on scene faced a fully involved blaze and could do little to save the building. Their efforts prevented the fire’s spread to other businesses and homes.
A nearby connection hub that provides Shaw phone and internet service was damaged, resulting in a community-wide outage for Shaw customers that lasted into Wednesday.
Flames and smoke from the house fire, at its height, could be seen for several blocks east and west.
While no estimates were given, damage to the two destroyed buildings is likely in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Patterson was to make his first court appearance Jan. 11 via closed circuit video, but “wasn’t able to be produced,” duty counsel Vincent Guinan told Justice J.N. LeGrandeur in Pincher Creek court of justice during a scheduled bail hearing.
Patterson was under guard in a Lethbridge hospital but there was no indication of his condition.
His court appearance was rescheduled for Monday in Lethbridge.