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Inmate charged with setting fire outside cell

July 08, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- A Maryland Correctional Training Center inmate serving time for murder was charged Tuesday with first-degree arson.

Allan Clark, 24, is charged with setting a June 16 fire outside a cell at the prison south of Hagerstown, Washington County District Court documents show.

A correctional officer making security rounds at about 12:45 a.m. June 16 saw the fire burning. The officer ordered an inmate who was adding materials to the fire to stop, and the inmate refused, documents show.

The officer put out the fire and later identified Clark as the inmate allegedly fueling the fire.

Clark's cellmate told investigators Clark had started setting fires inside and outside the cell. The cellmate also said Clark took two pieces of graphite and put them in an electrical outlet to make sparks. Clark lit toilet tissue with the sparks, and also burned a mattress, pillowcases, sheets and newspaper, a fire marshal alleged in charging documents.

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The cellmate, who was examined for possible smoke inhalation and chest pain after the fire, gave a voluntary written statement about the fire.

A fire marshal investigating confirmed the electrical outlet was used to start the fire.

On July 2, investigators were given a letter written by Clark. Court documents show in the letter Clark wrote he lit the fire out a back window of his cell. The fumes almost killed his cellmate, Clark wrote in the letter.

A fire marshal said in a news release the fire caused about $250 in damage.

Clark also was charged with second-degree malicious burning and reckless endangerment.

He was serving a 30-year sentence for a first-degree murder conviction in Anne Arundel County.

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