Man charged with arson surrenders

March 21, 1993|By Bill Talbott and Mary Gail Hare | Bill Talbott and Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

A Westminster man was arrested Friday evening and charged with deliberately setting a fire that caused $50,000 damage to a city home he co-owns.

Charles Amidee Stair Jr., 44, turned himself in to Westminster city police at 9:30 p.m. Friday, the state fire marshal's office said.

There, fire marshals had served a warrant for his arrest on one count of arson.

Investigators believe Mr. Stair set the fire in the basement of the house at 152 W. Main St. The blaze was discovered about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, fire officials said. No one was injured.

Mr. Stair, the co-owner of the recently remodeled three-story house in downtown Westminster, was interviewed the day of the fire and again at the time of his arrest, said Bob Thomas, deputy chief state fire marshal, "Mr. Stair was interviewed and considered suspect, but we can't reveal the nature of the interview," Mr. Thomas said.

He said investigators believe the fire was set using "combustible materials" found in the basement but did not elaborate.

Mr. Stair was held overnight at the Carroll County Detention Center and freed after paying $75,000 bond yesterday.

The two-alarm fire brought more than 60 firefighters and 11 pieces of fire equipment from Westminster and six other stations as far away as Winfield. The fire extended skyward inside the west wall of the building, forcing firefighters to tear siding from the house so they could get at the flames, while others tried to fight it from inside the building.

Police said the house, owned by Mr. Stair and his estranged wife, Sally S. Stair, has been vacant since the end of last year. The couple had lived in the house about four years, authorities said.

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