MAD RIVER TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WDTN) – A man is in custody on several charges, including arson, after a house fire in Mad River Township Saturday night.
Around 10:15 pm on January 11, the Mad River Township Fire Department responded to 1541 Uplands Drive for reports of a fire at the residence. When they arrived, emergency personnel saw the building consumed by flames and began attempts to extinguish the fire.
High winds made it especially difficult to protect surrounding structures.
At the same time, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office started getting reports of a suspicious person who was “engaged in criminal activities” in the area around the burning house.
One resident on Dayton-Springfield Road reported that as she was watching the fire, she heard a noise in her home. She discovered a man who claimed he was from the fire department, and that he had entered her residence to check on her welfare.
The male was not wearing a uniform, had no identifying credentials, and had broken in through an upstairs window in her home.
The woman forced the suspect out of her home while calling the Sheriff’s Office, and the male then fled.
From there, another homeowner on the same road reported that he saw a male outside to the rear of his home. He saw the male tampering with electric service lines coming into the home, attempting to cut them with a saw.
When questioned by the homeowner, he told the resident that the wires were sparking and that he needed to come out and check them. The resident called 911 and the male fled on foot from that residence as well.
Deputies at the scene located the suspect and detained him. Further investigation uncovered evidence that tied the man to the forced entry and cutting the wires.
Additional evidence indicated he had not only made unlawful entry into the burning structure, but that he had also creating the resulting fire.
31-year-old Christopher Ray Perdue was arrested and charged with arson, two counts of burglary, disrupting public services, felony possession of criminal tools, criminal damaging, and criminal trespass.
The fire remains under investigation by the Office of the State Fire Marshal, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, and the Mad River Township Fire Department.
Further charges could be forthcoming.
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