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Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

Celina residents accused of arson

By Margie Wuebker
A Celina couple have been indicted in connection with a May 2005 fire that heavily damaged Richardson's Floors and More, a business they owned and operated.
David W. Sloan, 27, and Druscilla R. Sloan, 30, both of 404 W. Market St., each face one count of aggravated arson following an investigation by the Ohio State Fire Marshal's Office and the Celina Fire Department. The second-degree felony alleges they did by means of fire or explosion caused damage to an occupied building at 216 W. Fayette St.
The grand jury indictment also includes two counts of arson and one count of insurance fraud against each of the Sloans. The fourth-degree arson charges allege the couple knowingly created a substantial risk of physical harm to the property of William E. Richardson without his consent and with the purpose to defraud.
The insurance fraud charge, also a fourth-degree felony, alleges the couple filed an insurance claim with Celina Mutual Insurance in excess of $5,000 but less than $100,000 knowing the statement or any part of the statement was false or deceptive.
If convicted of all charges, the Sloans each face up to 121/2 years in prison and fines totaling $35,000. Their initial appearance is scheduled this afternoon in Mercer County Common Pleas Court.
A passer-by spotted smoke coming from the two-story brick structure in the 200 block of West Fayette Street and called 911. Celina Fire Department responded shortly before 6 p.m. May 10, 2005, with two trucks and 14 firefighters.
The fire reportedly started in a rear storage area at the flooring business, which had closed for the day. Flames headed up an interior stairway at one point threatening the vacant second floor. However, firefighters contained the fire before it spread further.
Firefighters faced an "intense overhaul" at the scene, dragging rolls of carpeting and padding outside to make sure nothing continued to smolder.
With high humidity levels and an 83-degree temperature, firefighters were rotated in and out of the building giving them an opportunity to take off some of their turnout gear during welcome respites.
Firefighters were back in station by 11 p.m. However, several returned to the scene once during the night to check for possible rekindles. The re were none.
The Sloans, who purchased the business in November 2004, lost all the carpeting, padding and other supplies in the rear storage area.
Druscilla Sloan reportedly heard fire sirens from her home two blocks away and went to the scene upon learning their destination.
The business never reopened at the Fayette Street location. A telephone listing for the business at 819 E. Market St. indicated the phone is no longer in service.
David Wenning, owner of the adjacent C Creation Auto Trim and Upholstery, also came to the scene. Although flames did not breach his business, dense smoke filled the place but it reopened the following day.
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