LIMA — A Lima man who pleaded guilty earlier this year to staring a May 25 fire that destroyed a Lima business was sentenced Monday to 18 months in prison.
The attorney for Elmer Mault in October filed a motion to allow him to withdraw a guilty plea made one month earlier to a single count of arson, a fourth-degree felony, as outlined in a negotiated agreement with prosecutors.
Mault, 62, appeared in Allen County Common Pleas Court on Monday for that hearing but ultimately opted to proceed with sentencing.
He was charged in connection with a May 25 fire that destroyed the National Overstock Liquidation of Ohio facilities at 405 Findlay Road.
Firefighters were dispatched to the site around 4:30 p.m. on May 25 after an Allen County Sheriff’s Office deputy noticed flames coming from the rear of the building, on the Jackson Street side. Lima fire crews called for a second alarm and were assisted by American Township and Shawnee Township fire departments, who brought their ladder trucks to fight the fire from above. Surveillance cameras captured images of Mault inside the building.
The property, constructed in 1930, is owned by JNK Properties LLC and is valued at $103,700, according to the Allen County Auditor’s website. Firefighters called the building a total loss.
Brandon Barrett, owner and CEO of NOLO Pallets, said immediately after the fire he was uncertain of the future for the business.