Church blaze results in charge for St. Catharines man found walking nearby


Published April 21, 2023 at 5:41 pm

The church on Scott St. in St. Catharines. via Google Maps.

A church fire in St. Catharines has resulted in charges against a man from the city, but not for the blaze itself.

Shortly after 6 a.m. on Apr. 21 emergency crews responded to a church ablaze on Scott St. between Bonavem Dr. and Forrester St. in the city’s north end. The church had been deconsecrated and was in the middle of being torn down when the fire began.

According to Niagara Regional Police, by the time crews arrived the church was completely engulfed in flames. Their officers on the scene were told that a man had been seen running from the church shortly after the fire began.

Police began to search the area and found Martin Munoz, 42, walking nearby. They arrested Munoz in connection to the blaze, though it is unclear what connection police believe he had to it. He has only been charged with obstructing a peace officer and not charged for the fire directly. Munoz was later released with conditions and will later appear in court.

The investigation into the fire remains underway with police labeling it “suspicious.” The assigned detectives from the Niagara police 1 District and Forensics Unit have not yet identified the cause if the fire.

Anyone with more information can report it to Niagara police at 905-688-4111, #3, ext. 1009367.

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