Indiana Man Charged With Arson in Fire That Destroyed Century-Old Building

May 22, 2023

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) – A southwestern Indiana man allegedly set a fire that gutted a building more than 100 years old that was listed decades ago on the National Register of Historic Places, police said.

Charles James Perrin, 25, was arrested Thursday and booked into the Vanderburgh County jail on charges of arson and criminal mischief causing at least $50,000 in damages, Evansville police said Thursday at a news conference. Online court records do not list an attorney who could speak on Perrin’s behalf.

The Evansville man is accused of setting a Wednesday fire that gutted the former Pearl Cleaners building, a historic structure once known as “Pearl Steam Laundry, ” the Evansville Courier & Press reported.

The former laundry business on downtown Evansville’s north side was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

A website maintained by the University of Southern Indiana states the structure dates to 1912 and it had been vacant since closing in 2017 in Evansville, an Ohio River city about 170 miles (275 kilometers) southwest of Indianapolis.

The building is owned by The Pearl Development LLC, which said in a statement that nearly a year ago it had purchased ”this historical landmark with the hopes of restoring it to usable commercial space.”

“Our dream of revitalizing this iconic building and returning it to her former glory … is now ash,” it added.

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