After a lengthy investigation, Nelson police believe they have their man in an arson case.
On Thursday, after three months of work, the Nelson Police Department arrested and formally charged a 19-year-old Creston resident in relation to a suspicious fire that occurred October 4 in the lower level of 303 Vernon Street.
The fire started in the basement and storage area below the Academy of Classical Oriental Sciences which occupies the upper floor of the building. There are also two private residences above the area where the fire started. All occupants got out safely and the fire was extinguished in time to save the building.
Total damage was estimated at $25,000.
Police have charged the suspect with arson. He has been released on bail with strict conditions and is scheduled to appear in Nelson court on February 3. His name has not yet been released.
Det.-Cst. Nate Holt said the Chinese medicine school was not the target of the attack: “It was a personal motivation. He was upset with someone who lived in the building.”
Holt said as part of strict bail conditions, the suspect has to remain in Creston under house arrest except to go to work. They don’t believe he poses a further risk to the public or the person he originally targeted.
The man is also before the courts on several other allegations, but has no convictions.
Holt said police interviewed everyone who had access to the building or a potential motive. The suspect’s name came up early in the investigation, but it took them a while to track him down. He was living in Nelson at the time of the fire, but moved to Creston soon after.