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Fires being investigated
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Fires being investigated

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Fire Investigation

Farmington Fire and Police departments responded to two commercial fires within a short time of each other Monday night.

A homeless man allegedly set fires in front of two businesses in Farmington on Monday night.

According to Farmington Police Chief Rick Baker, at 10:40 p.m., officers were called to Village Square Plaza in the 600 block of W. Pine Street in reference to helping the fire department with a commercial fire.

“The officers arrived first and observed heavy smoke coming from under the awning,” he said. “A large red duffel bag appeared to be on fire. One of the officers used a fire extinguisher from his vehicle and extinguished the fire.”

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Located in the duffel bag was identification for a 35-year-old white male resident of Florida. Authorities later determined the suspect is homeless.

Shortly afterward, another fire was reported at Country Mart/Harp’s Grocery on North Washington Street. Baker said a large number of hay bales in front of the business were on fire.

“The fire department responded and put the fire out,” he said. “The officers searched the area and located an individual near Lix Frozen Custard.”

The man matched the information from the duffel bag at the previous fire. He was interviewed and admitted to setting both fires.

The suspect was arrested for knowingly burning and exploding, a Class E felony, and taken to St. Francois County Jail. He is being held pending charges from the prosecutor’s office.

Mark Marberry is a reporter for the Farmington Press and Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3629, or at mmarberry@farmingtonpressonline.com

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