Local News

March 15, 2013

Port Henry arsonist pleads guilty


“He wants to apologize to the community,” she said.

King’s family was in court to support him, Garcia said.

“People really like Joe King. He has a reputation of being a family man. It’s been very difficult on his family while he’s been in jail.”

Garcia asked Meyer to release King on his own recognizance before sentencing so he can set his affairs in order.

Meyer said he wouldn’t do that but would reduce King’s bail, which was $100,000 bail bond or $50,000 cash, to $25,000 cash or $50,000 bail bond.


Firefighters were first called to the Mountain Lake Services office building at 4326 Main St. in Port Henry, where King has now admitted he set fires in at least two places inside the structure, which is part of the Sagan Block.

While firefighters were at that first fire, a Mountain Lake Services van was discovered burning in the agency’s parking lot on Rice Lane. A second van and the agency’s gas pumps had flaming materials thrown on them, but they failed to ignite, as did the organization’s main building, the Helen F. McDonald Center, on St. Patrick’s Place nearby.

In the main building, King set fires in several places, but those burned out before doing significant damage.


King then drove his compact car through fire lines at Main and Broad streets, running over hoses and ladders and brushing several firefighters, almost striking others. A person assisting firefighters suffered a back injury when he was allegedly hit by King’s car.

An Essex County Sheriff’s Department deputy chased King when he made a U-turn at Moriah Central School, pursuing him back down Broad Street toward the fire.

As King approached in his car, another Sheriff’s Department deputy used a vehicle to block the street, and State Police cut him off to the side.

King had to be pulled from the car after he allegedly refused to get out.


Repairs to the Mountain Lake Services Main Street building are expected to get under way in a few weeks, officials at the agency said this week.

Mountain Lake Services assists individuals with developmental disabilities at multiple locations throughout Essex County.

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