A 20-year-old Boardman man accused of setting fires near two township businesses is scheduled to appear in court today.
Raymond Lee Williams, of Clifton Drive, was arrested about 11 a.m. Friday on warrants charging him with aggravated arson and arson, both felony offenses.
Williams was charged with aggravated arson relating to a July 20 fire at Smoker Friendly, 4927 Market St. Firefighters said two mattresses had been set on fire next to gas meters at the smoke shop sometime between 5 and 11 p.m.
“The first fire involved gas meters that actually ruptured gas lines, and they had to shut the gas off to the entire plaza. It did affect operations, and it could have set it all on fire,” said Fire Chief George Brown.
The second fire that Williams is accused of igniting occurred at about 2:30 a.m. July 25. In that case, a dumpster near Sleepy Hollow Mattress Outlet was ablaze. The outlet store is located at 4931 Market St. next to Smoker Friendly.
Dumpster fires “have caught buildings on fire before, so they’re always a danger,” Brown said.
Brown said he’s noticed an uptick in arson cases.
“It’s a little bit of vandalism, a little bit of the economy and a little of people covering up crimes,” Brown said when asked to explain the increase.
Boardman firefighters were called to a blaze at a storage shed on Glenwood Avenue at about 11 p.m. Sunday. That case appears to be arson, too, Brown said.
The chief said he was pleased that fire investigator Lt. Jim McCreary and Boardman police were able to make an arrest quickly in the Smoker Friendly and Sleepy Hollow cases.
Police reports state that Williams spoke freely and unprompted about the arson accusations, saying: “I did not try to hurt or want to hurt anyone, I was just bored.”
When Boardman police and U.S. Marshals arrived at Williams’ Clifton Drive residence to serve the warrants, they saw a man working on a bicycle in the backyard and asked him to come forward.
The man, later identified as 21-year-old Daniel S. Krotky Jr., fled from officers who found him a short time later hiding in a garage on Terrace Drive, police said.
Krotky was charged with obstructing official business and resisting arrest. He also was found to have a warrant out of Campbell police for probation violation. Both Krotky and Williams were taken to Mahoning County jail and scheduled to appear in Mahoning County Area Court in Boardman today.