EPD: Man charged with arson in connection with Evansville business fire

EPD: Man charged with arson in connection with Evansville business fire
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 1:29 PM CDT|Updated: May. 18, 2023 at 6:49 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - A man was arrested on Thursday in connection with a fire that broke out at the old Pearl Cleaners building.

[Previous Story: Old Pearl Cleaners building destroyed by fire]

The Evansville Fire Department confirmed a person of interest had been detained. After interviewing the man identified as Charles Perrin, Evansville police say he knowingly and intentionally set a fire in the building.

“Some of the statements he made did affirm that he did purposely set the fire,” said EPD Officer Mario Reid.

According to an affidavit, Perrin told investigators he set the fire for self-gratification, as he got an adrenaline rush. EPD officials say Perrin also told investigators that he left and soon came back to admire his work.

“The difference with this investigation is that we had three different agencies working very closely together,” Officer Reid said. “But not only were we working with the other agencies including the Evansville Fire Department, but we were also making contact with people in the community.”

Investigators brought Perrin back to the scene of the crime after interrogating him. Police say Perrin agreed to walk through the timeline and location of where everything happened.

“They [firefighters] were able to dig into the area a little bit and just verify what he said,” EFD Division Chief Mike Larson said.

Perrin now faces charges of arson and criminal mischief.

“Just all we ask is if you see something, say something,” Larson said. “So that helps tremendously for pretty much all investigations.”

25-year-old Charles Perrin
25-year-old Charles Perrin(Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office)

That fire happened Wednesday around 2 a.m.

Evansville Division Chief Mike Larson says the fire was considered “out” around 8 a.m. Wednesday.

After the fire was out, fire crews continued to put out hot spots until around 4 p.m. to make sure the fire didn’t rekindle.

That Pearl Dry Cleaners location had been in business for more than 100 years when it closed in 2017.

Police say the estimated value of the property is nearly $445,000.

Officials say this investigation is ongoing.

Evansville fire and police held a joint press conference on Thursday afternoon.

You can watch the entire briefing in the video below: