EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – An arrest has been made after an Evansville apartment building goes up in flames for the second time in just 9 days. The second fire occurred in the 900 block of West Illinois Street just after 4:40am on February 1. Evansville Police arrested 22 year old Jordan Cleary on charges of criminal mischief.

Evansville Police Sgt. Nick Winsett says Cleary was observed circling the property as Evansville Firefighters battled the blaze.

“Thought it was odd,” says Sgt. Winsett, “told him he needed to get back and let us do our job. He refused to leave. So finally our officers asked him what his business was there.”

Cleary informed police he lived inside the building, which had been vacant after an initial fire on January 23. After being questioned, Cleary said he lit candles in a third floor attic, which caused plastic bags to catch fire.

“The first-arriving officer, he told her initially, ‘Hey, I was in there, in that apartment, I accidentally knocked over a candle’. He wasn’t trying to deny anything, he wasn’t trying to hide anything,” explains Sgt. Winsett.

According to an affidavit, Cleary told police he also lit candles in his second floor apartment on January 23, which also caused plastic bags to catch fire. Residents in the neighborhood did not want to speak on camera, but tell Eyewitness News they were frustrated and annoyed that two fires occurred within less than two weeks at the same location. When asked if firefighters were frustrated as well, EFD Division Chief Mike Larson says that is not the case.

“I wouldn’t say frustrating. I mean, this is our job. This is what we do,” explains Chief Larson. “We don’t hope for that kind of stuff. I mean, people do things, they make mistakes, they have poor judgement in certain situations, whether it’s trying to keep warm, trying to see. They don’t necessarily see what’s going to be the problem and this is what happens.”

Larson says EFD extinguished the fire within two hours after briefly taking a defensive approach to the blaze. No firefighters were injured. Police say Cleary’s character on the scene and his admission of the fire leads police to believe the incident was accidental and not an act of arson.