A man was arrested Tuesday afternoon after allegedly admitting in an interview with law enforcement that he started a fire at his Hopewell Township residence.
Andrew Rohrbach, 19, of 2802 W. US 224, was being held in Seneca County Jail Tuesday on a charge of aggravated arson, a first-degree felony, authorities said.
Detective Kevin Reinbolt of Seneca County Sheriff's Office said the fire marshal's office was able to determine where and how the fire started. The office determined it was set intentionally, and Rohrbach was summoned to the sheriff's office for an interview.
PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE
Smoke pours from the house at 2804 W. US 224 early Tuesday morning. Andrew Rohrbach, 19, a resident of the house, was arrested on an aggravated arson charge.
"It was found that a gas line was disconnected in the basement," he said.
Reinbolt said Rohrbach lived at the residence with his mother and sisters. The family had moved out but still had belongings there, he said.
Authorities think Rohrbach believed that doing away with the house would help his family financially, he said.
Reinbolt said Rohrbach will appear before Judge Mark Repp of Tiffin-Fostoria Municipal Court today, and authorities will present the case to a grand jury during its next session, which probably will be Aug. 6.
A woman reported the fire at 2:12 a.m. Tuesday. She stated smoke was coming from the top of the house, and it was unknown whether it was occupied.
Authorities contacted the homeowner, Melinda Roof, about 15 minutes later, and she stated the residents were in the process of moving out, according to a Seneca County Sheriff's Office report.
Rohrbach was at the scene as firefighters worked to extinguish the fire.
About 30 firefighters from Bascom Joint Fire District and NBS Fire District responded to the scene. Personnel from Bascom EMS, American Electric Power and Seneca County Sheriff's Office also responded.
Assistant Chief Mark DeVault of Bascom Joint Fire District estimated it took an hour to fight the fire. He said he was on the third truck to arrive, and when he got to the scene, there was a small amount of flames coming out of the front and side windows.
DeVault said the there was smoke and water damage throughout the house. He did not have a loss estimate Tuesday.
The fire rendered the house uninhabitable. DeVault said he thought the family had a place to stay.
No injuries were reported.