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Man charged with arson in October house fire

July 06, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

HAGERSTOWN -- A Hagerstown man has been charged with first-degree arson and giving false or misleading information following an October house fire at 20600 Jefferson Boulevard, according to Washington District Court records.

Ryan P. Blumenauer, 22, was arrested Thursday at his parents' home on Oriole Drive in Hagerstown and released on a $75,000 bond, according to Maryland Deputy State Fire Marshal Ed Ernst.

Blumenauer was not arrested until Thursday because of an ongoing investigation that included assistance from the state Attorney General's office, Ernst said Monday night.

On Oct. 20, 2008, the Smithsburg Fire Department responded to Blumenauer's house on Jefferson Boulevard, where they observed smoke and fire coming from the house, court records show.

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Ernst said in court records that he went into the home after the fire was extinguished and noticed an odor of what appeared to be fuel oil.

Ernst said he saw what appeared to be a burned recliner, and a wood floor around the chair was charred.

Ernst said he walked into the basement and the odor of fuel oil became stronger.

Ernst said he entered a room containing a furnace and noticed that a fuel line from a tank to the furnace had been loosened, causing fuel to leak onto the floor. Also in the room was a pile of burned clothes, Ernst said in a complaint.

Ernst said he determined there were two fires in the house, both of which were arson.

The day of the fire, Blumenauer contacted an insurance agency regarding the fire and filed a claim, according to court records.

A witness to the fire went to Blumenauer while he was at the scene and stated that Blumenauer was not nervous or excited, court records show.

A witness also said that one month before the fire, Blumenauer said it would be cheaper to burn the house rather than fix it, according to court records.

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