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Bellefontaine, OH

Local man who torched mobile home for scrap facing charges

A Champaign County resident has been charged with inducing panic after he set a vacant, stripped mobile home on fire in order to obtain scrap near Kiser Lake in June.

The Champaign County Sheriff's Office reports that Jason Crabtree, 23, of 2218 Kiser Lake Road, St. Paris, was issued a summons Friday after he deliberately set a mobile home on his property on fire June 14th around 11 p.m. A passing motorist notified authorities of what he thought was a trailer fire, and four vehicles from the St. Paris Fire Department were dispatched to the scene on Kiser Lake Road. Firefighters found a mobile home, rather than a trailer, engulfed, and spent an hour on the scene, using 1,500 gallons of water to douse the flames.

The summons stemmed from the fact that Crabtree was “extremely reckless” in setting the fire at night and failing to secure the proper permits. Given these facts, plus putting the St. Paris Fire Department out of service for over an hour, caused what Sheriff Matthew Melvin called a “serious public inconvenience to our fire service, including our citizens of St. Paris and Johnson Township," resulting in the inducing panic charge.

Inducing panic is a first-degree misdemeanor. Crabtree is scheduled to appear in court to answer to the charge July 18th.

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