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Man accused of setting corrections center fire charged

March 4, 2022 GMT

WAHPETON, N.D. (AP) — A Fairmount man accused of setting a fire at the Richland County corrections center has been charged with arson.

According to prosecutors, the 24-year-old man carried a backpack into the Law Enforcement Center in Wahpeton Tuesday, removed a “cylindrical container” and lit it on fire in the lobby.

The fire damaged the lobby and sent smoke throughout the building, causing officials to move the jail’s 15 inmates to other county lockups.

Court documents say that after the fire, the defendant could be seen on surveillance video running to his vehicle and leaving the area. He was later spotted on a bank surveillance camera in Fairmont.

Authorities say the defendant holed up in his home Thursday when police arrived and was finally arrested after about five hours. The standoff caused Fairmount Public Schools to temporarily lock down as a precaution.

The man is being held in the Cass County Jail in Fargo.