KENTON — Officers with the Federal Bureau of Investigation have arrested a suspect in connection with a fire Monday evening in the Walmart Super Center store in Kenton.
According to a spokeswoman for the Kenton Police Department, Caleb Poole, 26, of Fredricktown in Knox County, was taken into federal custody after being found by authorities in Columbus on Tuesday afternoon. He was charged with arson and also faces possible charges of terrorism, the spokeswoman said.
The FBI and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation were summoned to assist with an arson investigation following the fire Monday evening inside the store in Kenton. According to Kenton Police Department Chief Dennis Musser, police and fire personnel were dispatched at approximately 6:48 p.m. Monday after a fire was discovered in the clothing department of the retail superstore.
Musser said the fire was “mostly extinguished” by the store’s fire suppression system upon the arrival of first responders.
Foul play was immediately suspected, Musser said, and the Kenton Fire Department’s arson team and the Hardin County Crime Task Force were called in.
Because of a fear that an incendiary device may have been planted in the store, the Allen County Bomb Squad was summoned, and a K-9 unit swept the store. No explosive device was located, Musser said.
“We do suspect arson,” the chief said. “We believe someone loaded a (shopping) cart of flammable material and set it on fire. We’re going through a lot of video,” Musser said.
No estimate on monetary damage to the store was provided, but the chief said the damage caused by the fire suppression system was “tremendous.”