PARIS, Ill. (WCIA) — The Paris Fire Department is investigating an arson early Monday morning at Save A Lot.
Chief Brian Gates says crews were dispatched around 2:15 a.m. to the grocery store at 302 West Jasper Street after flames were seen “shooting through the roof.”
As they were en route, the chief says dispatchers were told something had exploded at the building.
When firefighters got to the scene, he says the fire actually ended up being on the outside of the building near the loading dock. They also discovered the explosion had been a propane tank.
The chief says a very small amount of fire made it inside of the building — the back wall had fire damage and a cooler was destroyed. He added there was heavy smoke damage to the interior and all of the store’s inventory was destroyed.
The loading dock was heavily damaged, Gates said. Firefighters worked at the scene for over five hours.
The chief says Paris Police, the Edgar County Sheriff’s office, and the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s office are assisting with the investigation. After reviewing security camera footage, Gates says they were able to identify a suspect.
He says that person was identified as Conan McArthur, and he is charged with arson.
Arrest records say the man is 30-years-old and lives on South Central Street near West Jasper Street in Paris. That’s located within two blocks of Save A Lot.
Gates says Vermilion Fire and Charleston Fire assisted firefighting efforts, with help from Horizon Health EMS.
He adds one firefighter was hurt during the response and is expected to be okay.
All fire photos courtesy of Edgar County Watchdogs — used with permission.