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Man charged in Northgate Apartment fire

Submitted Tue, 03/18/2014 - 5:43am by Andy Alm

Updated 7:30am 3/18/14

WEST MEAD TWP. – A Meadville man is accused of starting a fire that left twelve people homeless at a Meadville area apartment.  Twenty-year-old Brandon James Irwin was taken into custody Monday morning by the West Mead Police Department’s Sergeant Michael Broderick.  Broderick obtained an arrest warrant for Irwin after investigators determined the fire started in Irwin’s apartment and was suspicious.

The fire, which occurred on Tuesday March 11th, completely engulfed the apartment on Laurel Drive and displaced approximately twelve residents from ten occupied apartment units, including Irwin’s own residence.

Irwin was located and arrested while staying at the Quality Inn in Meadville.  During a police interview, Sergeant Broderick says Irwin confessed to starting the fire.

Irwin was arraigned before District Judge William Chisholm on Monday and is due for a preliminary hearing on March 28th.  In the meantime he is being held in the Crawford County Jail, unable to post 150-thousand dollars bail.

According to Vernon Township Fire Chief Chris Reichel, Irwin was a member of the Vernon Township Volunteer Fire Department for about a month in 2012.  He was kicked out after the department learned of his criminal record.