Update: Suspect Arrested in Connection with Pearl Laundry Fire, Authorities Allege Arson
An early morning two-alarm fire gutted the old Pearl Laundry building in Evansville at Northwest Third and Bond streets.
The Indiana State Fire Marshal Service has made an arrest in connection to the two-alarm vacant building fire on Wednesday.
Charles Perrin was located with the help of Evansville Police Department Crime Prevention Unit’s Homeless Liaison officer Mario Reid.
Reid said he used a network of leads to help find Perrin, and discern where he’d been the last 24 hours, and the time of the fire. Perrin was found at the United Caring Shelter.
“Eventually we did a formal interview with Mr. Perrin. And through that investigation, we were able to develop enough evidence for a probable cause arrest,” said Reid, adding that Perrin was at the location during the active fire.
He said aside from legal consequences of the fire, if found guilty, Reid hopes to provide Perrin with mental health and substance misuse counseling.
“My goal is for not to just be punitive. My goal is for him to get some of the services that I believe he needs.”
On social media, the Evansville Fire Department thanked the Evansville Police Department, State Fire Marshals Office and Indiana Department of Homeland Security for helping "close this case so quickly."
An early morning two-alarm fire has severely damaged the old Pearl Steam Laundry building in Evansville.
By Wednesday early afternoon, the Evansville Fire Department finally stopped pumping water onto the smoldering debris to see if anything else would flare up.
The State Fire Marshal has taken over the investigation, and it’s too early to tell how it might have started.
Many of the exterior walls of the brick warehouse building are still standing, with much of the interior destroyed.
A two-alarm fire is called when the lead fire department needs additional support. At the height of the incident, there were about six apparatus with 35 of 40 firefighters.
Division Chief Mike Larson said the incident commander on scene quickly decided firefighters would treat this as a defensive fire.
“A defensive fire is basically, that the firefighters do not enter the building,” Larson said. “The water is applied from the exterior, whether it's from the top of the ladder, or what we call ‘an elevated master stream,’ elevated hose line. Or they spray the water through the windows to the interior to get the fire under control.”
Larson said CenterPoint Energy was on scene to cut the power to the building, which he did not believe was in use at the time.
Larson said it could take a while for the scene to die down completely.
“As in the other warehouse fires, it's likely that it could be, you know, 2-3-4-6, 12 hours, maybe even a day before those little hot embers maybe rear their ugly little head and create a hotspot for us to have to go back on.”
He said the fire started before 2 a.m. Wednesday, and no other buildings were damaged and no one was injured.
Larson said they’re looking for any security camera footage that could assist the investigation into the cause of the blaze.
Evansville has seen several warehouse fires in recent months.