COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A 19-year-old has been charged after firefighters saw him set a stack of newspapers on fire in the lobby of The Hub in downtown Columbia early Tuesday morning.
Alexander Eugene Petrillo is charged with third and second degree arson and is expected to be charged with possession of schedule II controlled substance and possession of marijuana, according to police.
Columbia Police Department officers arrested Petrillo after a fire was reported by Columbia Fire Department crews at 1426 Main Street shortly before 3:00 a.m.
Initially, firefighters responded to the scene for an activated fire alarm on the 11th floor. Residents self-evacuated for a short time as CFD crews searched for signs of a fire.
Firefighters located remnants of a small fire from a piece of paper near the elevators on the second floor.
After reporting the scene was under control, firefighters saw Petrillo set a stack of newspapers in the main lobby on fire, police said. There were no reported injuries or significant damages as a result.
Firefighters approached Petrillo, who is a resident at the Hub, and requested CPD to arrive on the scene. As CPD questioned Petrillo, he admitted to intentionally starting the fires, according to police.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is assisting CPD and CFD with the investigation.
Petrillo was booked at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.