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Centralia Area Man Taken Into Custody For Aggravated Arson

September 23, 2016

Jefferson County Sheriff Travis Allen says a 49-year-old Centralia man wanted for aggravated arson has been taken into custody following a day long manhunt.

Allen says Jefferson County Dispatch was able to ping John Brown’s phone in Centralia. Jefferson County officials joined Centralia Police and Marion County Sheriff’s Deputies in responding to an address in the 300 block of South Lincoln Street where contact was made with Brown. He was taken into custody without incident. Allen says Centralia Police had received reports of Brown sightings in their area and had been working to locate him before Brown’s phone was pinged.

Allen is personally thanking the Centralia Police Department, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Mount Vernon Police Department, the Jefferson County Dispatchers and Deputies and all the citizens who helped out on Thursday. He says they are very thankful the incident ended the way it did.

A warrant had been issued for Brown’s arrest for his role in setting a rural Centralia home on fire late Wednesday night that received heavy fire damage.

Allen said the sheriff’s department received multiple emergency calls of Brown pouring gasoline inside a residence located in the 4000 block of East Dix-Irvington Road. The sheriff reports Brown proceeded to set the house on fire, while the residence was occupied.

Centralia Fire Protection District Chief Greg Earle says four to five members of Brown’s family were at home when the fire was allegedly set. All the family members got out safely and were waiting at the road when the fire department arrived. It was unclear at the time if Brown may still have been in the house.

Earle reports fire was coming out of every window of the home. He reports while a large part of the roof burned off and there was substantial fire damage to the first floor, the living area in the basement received just smoke and water damage.

Kell and Woodlawn Firemen provided mutual aide assistance and helped haul water to the scene. Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputies, the Mt. Vernon canine, and the State Fire Marshals office all joined the investigation.

The fire call came in at 11:13 Wednesday night. Earle says firemen were on the scene for about six hours.

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