HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — Authorities in Hagerstown say a man has confessed to starting a fire that badly damaged a vacant downtown apartment building last week.

The city fire marshal’s office says it charged Ernest Stitely Jr., 26, Tuesday with offenses including burglary, reckless endangerment and causing a fire through negligence.

A city spokeswoman says Stitely was seen in the five-story building with his two dogs before the fire Thursday night. She says investigators found his name on some documents in a fourth-floor apartment.

She says that when confronted with this information, Stitely acknowledged he had started a fire in the bathtub to stay warm.

The fire gutted the top two floors and prompted the city to close a downtown street for several days due to the building’s instability.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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