A Union man is facing charges related to a string of fires set in Union early Thursday morning.
The Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office has charged Darek Michael McMahon, 30, of Union, with second-degree arson and “knowingly burning or exploding,” according to a Union Police Department news release. McMahon was arrested around 3:50 p.m. Friday after officers identified him as a suspect and areas McMahon was known to frequent were canvassed.
Police were called at 1:42 a.m. Thursday to Cars Made Simple at 801 N. Washington Ave., where two vehicles had been set on fire.
Police were investigating the first car fire when another fire was seen nearby at the Agape House Thrift Store at 806. N. Union Ave.
At 2:35 a.m., another fire was reported at a fenced-in area at the end of Old Smelter Road, about a mile from the earlier fires. An unoccupied vehicle had been set on fire at the property owned by the city of Union.
McMahon is being held in the Franklin County Adult Detention Center on a $50,000 cash-only bond, police said. The investigation is still ongoing.
Along with the vehicle fires at the car lot, tires were reported slashed on eight vehicles.
Agape House had extensive fire damage to its entrance, as well as smoke and water damage inside the building. It hopes to reopen the thrift store within two weeks.
The vehicle burned at the city lot was collected for evidence years ago.
Rev. Jim Armistead, executive director of Agape House, welcomed the news of the arrest.
“I feel relieved that other people aren’t going to have to go through what we’re going through,” he said. “I’d love to know why he did what he did.”
Volunteers have been working hard to get the thrift store, which raises money for Agape House’s shelter, back together, Armistead said. He expects it to take at least two weeks for the thrift store, which has been at its location 33 years, to reopen.
“The way they are working, they aren’t letting any grass grow under their feet to get back in operation,” he said.