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Hagerstown man charged with arson after woman's clothes set on fire

July 22, 2008

A 19-year-old Hagerstown man was charged with arson after fire officials said he set his girlfriend's clothing on fire behind an apartment building Monday morning, the Maryland State Fire Marshal's office said in a news release.

Kenneth Allen Platt Jr. was charged with first-degree arson, second-degree malicious burning, malicious destruction of property and possession of a concealed dangerous weapon, Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal Jason Mowbray said in the release.

Firefighters responded to a report of smoke to the rear of 503 W. Washington St. at about 10:37 a.m. and found a pile of debris burning behind the four-unit apartment building, Mowbray said. Fire marshals determined that, in retaliation for a previous domestic matter, Platt removed his girlfriend's clothing from their apartment and used an ignitable liquid to set them on fire, Mowbray said.

Damage to the building and the overhead electrical wires was minimal, Mowbray said.

The Hagerstown Fire Department and Hagerstown Fire Marshal's Office assisted in the investigation and executed a search warrant at Platt's apartment, Mowbray said. A loaded shotgun was found in Platt's vehicle, he said.

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If convicted, Platt faces a maximum penalty of imprisonment for up to 37 years and fines of up to $54,500, Mowbray said. He was being held at the Washington County Detention Center on $35,000 bond Monday night, Mowbray said.

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