EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – The Evansville Police Department has a suspect in custody following the fire that destroyed the historic Pearl Cleaners building in Evansville.

“Some of the statements he had made did affirm that he did purposely set the fire,” says Officer Mario Reid with the Evansville Police Department.

One day after an inferno burned the historical former Pearl Cleaners building to the ground, Eyewitness News was rolling as authorities took Charles Perrin into custody on arson charges related to the fire.

Perrin was spotted at the scene by Eyewitness News on Wednesday watching firefighters fight the fire he is alleged to have started.

“He had left at one point and returned so he could, and I believe the quote was, ‘admire his work’,” says Reid.

Neighbors to the old Pearl Cleaners building are in shock.

“It’s kinda tough, because s long as I’ve been here, that building has been here. Anytime you go out to your car, you’re looking at that building and you’re thinking ‘oh, ya know, that’s gonna be here forever’ and all of a sudden, it looks like almost like a wasteland or a Chernobyl disaster,” says Noah Brooks, Assistant Service Manager at Raben Automotive.

Raben Automotive, which sits directly across the street, remained open throughout the day, despite considerable challenges due to the fire.

One concern in the aftermath is the potential environmental impact. The building had been cited as recently as 2018 for potentially hazardous chemicals at the location.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management told Eyewitness News they are working on finding those answers.

Meanwhile, Raben says they back to business as usual.

“Today we’re back to normal, basically everyone has complained about how difficult it is to get to us with all the construction, that’s pretty much normal,” adds Brooks.