PLYMOUTH - A Cheshire man has been arrested for allegedly starting a fire at the abandoned O-Z/Gedney factory, and is believed to be responsible for a junkyard fire in Bristol.
Ryan Casner, 19, is considered by authorities to be a “spree arsonist,” having been charged in multiple other fires in the area that were intentionally set, according to the arrest warrant. He was arrested Tuesday on charges of third-degree arson, third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree breach of peace.
Those charges stem from the fire that destroyed the old O-Z/Gedney factory on March 16. Firefighters received multiple 911 calls about the blaze at about 10 p.m. and had to wait half an hour for the power to be cut before attacking the fire, as some power lines were too close to the building.
Casner became a suspect in the O-Z/Gedney fire when he was arrested by Bristol police on April 3 and accused of setting multiple city-owned garbage containers on fire on Shrub Road. Those charges are still pending in Waterbury Superior Court.
Not long after Casner’s first arrest, detectives suspected he may have been responsible for the O-Z/Gedney fire and a blaze at Ross Auto Parts in Bristol, where 17 junk cars were burned on March 19. Casner has not been charged in the auto parts fire, but according to the warrant in the Plymouth blaze, he is the “primary suspect.”
During the investigation, police from multiple jurisdictions were able to get a video of Casner allegedly bragging to someone about his involvement in a number of area fires and a burglary.
Casner is also facing charges in connection with the theft of two dirt bikes in Wolcott and a number of pallets that were set ablaze outside a business in Meriden.
Following his arrest this week, Casner was released on $75,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in Bristol Superior Court on Feb. 20.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.