The Mount Pleasant Police Department announced recently in a press release, that they have arrested a suspect who is believed to have been involved in the burning of a building. The man, a 25-year-old resident of Mount Pleasant, MI named Christopher Bott-Fleming, is now facing arson charges as a result.
At 6;47 pm on Wednesday, June 8th, a 10,000 square foot masonry structure in Isabella County, which was being used as a storage facility, caught on fire. Someone immediately called 911. The building, located on the corner of Walnut and Mills Streets in Mount Pleasant, was a furnace by the time firefighters arrived just minutes later, where they struggled to contain the blaze.
Fire dept. was able to control and fully put out the fire
According to Lt. Randy Keeler of the Mount Pleasant Fire Department, the size, construction and compartmentalization of the structure made it very difficult for firefighters to extinguish the blaze. It wasn’t until a bulldozer was brought in to demolish parts of the structure that the Mt. Pleasant Fire Department was able to control and fully put out the fire. People in nearby homes were evacuated due to possible smoke inhalation.
A total of 30 firefighters were involved in fighting the fire, which was severe and caused extensive damage to the structure. Firefighters from three departments were present, including Deerfield Fire Department, Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Fire Department, and Shepherd Tri-Township Fire Department. In assistance at the scene were the Mount Pleasant Police and Mobile Medical Rescue, although no one was harmed in the blaze.
After the fire was extinguished, arson investigators canvassed the neighborhood looking for information on who may have started the conflagration. Several neighbors described Bott-Fleming lighting fireworks nearby. One said they saw him running along the north side of the building. Another told police they had heard him bragging about being the cause of the fire.
Two days after the incident took place, Mount Pleasant Police arrested Bott-Fleming. At his arraignment on June 11th in the Isabella County Trial Court, he was formally charged with two counts of arson related charges. The charges include one count of third degree arson, which is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and one count of arson – preparation to burn property, which is also a 10 year felony and carries a fine of $20,000 or more.
Bott-Fleming is currently being held at the Isabella County Jail pending his next court appearance or the posting of his bond. The Judge set his bail at $150,000, or 10 percent. There is currently no date scheduled for his preliminary examination.
Arson charges are very serious and can result in decades behind bars if not handled properly by an experienced criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at the Kronzek firm have successfully represented many clients in arson cases over the years, and understand how carefully these types of cases must be handled. One of our defense attorneys has extensive police experience as an arson investigator. He has been an instructor for other police officers studying arson investigation. If you or a loved one are facing arson-related charges, contact us immediately. We can help you.