An arson suspect told Lebanon police investigators that he started a fire at the Champion Mill site in February because his girlfriend had broken up with him, and he was also upset that his parents had been unkind to him, according to court paperwork.

Owen Daniel Mercier, 23, of Lebanon, was charged with second-degree arson and first-degree criminal mischief in Linn County Circuit Court on Tuesday.

Mercier told police in an October interview that he chose to set the mill building ablaze because it had been abandoned, according to a probable cause affidavit in the case.

“Owen told me he entered and exited through a door on the side of the building, piled up debris such as clothes, wood pieces and cardboard boxes at either end of the interior of the building. He said he then lit the piles of debris on fire using two small green propane torches. He said he waited inside until both piles were burning and the entire interior was bright. He said he left through the side of the building and then drug a board behind him to cover his tracks in the snow,” wrote an Lebanon Police Department officer.

The fire occurred at about 10:20 p.m. on Feb. 25 and destroyed a 50,000-square-foot building. Lebanon Fire District investigators estimated the loss at $50,000.

While officers were on scene, three subjects were escorted off the mill property. One of them was Mercier, according to the affidavit. The two other people reportedly walked from their nearby residence, met up with Mercier and decided to walk closer to see the fire. They were warned for trespassing.

Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

In October, a Lebanon Police Department detective received a tip that indicated Mercier had confessed to starting the fire with a propane torch.

Another building at the former Lebanon mill site was scorched by a fire on Monday afternoon, but firefighters from Lebanon and elsewhere were able to quickly extinguish the flames and save the structure.

0
0
0
0
0

Load comments