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Published: Sunday, December 23, 2018 @ 11:46 PM
Updated: Monday, July 22, 2019 @ 7:07 PM
WAPAKONETA — UPDATE @ 7 p.m. (July 22):
The man who set fire to a downtown hotel building has pleaded guilty.
After pleading not guilty by reason of insanity, Wesley Michael Slaughter has since pleaded guilty to five counts of aggravated arson.
The former Koneta Hotel building has also been demolished due to sustaining serious structural damage.
Slaughter awaits his sentencing, and could face up to 19 years in prison.
UPDATE @ 10 p.m. (Jan. 5):
A bond has been set at $1 million for a man accused of starting a Dec. 23 apartment fire.
Wesley Michael Slaughter, 19, has been indicted on five felony charges of aggravated arson by an Auglaize County grand jury in connection to the fire at the former Koneta Hotel building on Perry Street.
The fire destroyed the building and displaced dozens of residents who were able to escape the fire.
The building located at 1 Perry St. is still closed for safety purposes.
If Slaughter is convicted, he faces more than 50 years in prison.
UPDATE @ 12:21 p.m. Dec. 26:
A man arrested in connection to a Perry street apartment complex fire was formally charged Wednesday.
Wesley Michael Slaughter, 19, was charged with aggravated arson, according to court records.
He is still being held in the county jail, according to the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office website.
A 19-year-old man is in custody in connection with a Perry Street apartment fire late Sunday night that displaced more than two dozen people and a business downtown in the former Koneta Hotel.
Wesley Michael Slaughter was arrested on an aggravated arson charge early Monday. He remains held without bond in the county jail, according to the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office.
Slaughter lived in the building in downtown Wapakoneta, according to other residents.
When firefighters responded to the building around 11:20 p.m. they encountered heavy smoke and flames coming from the structure. Multiple fire departments, including crews from St. Marys and Botkins, were called to assist firefighters with the blaze.
Between 20 and 30 people were displaced due to the fire. The residents, who escaped unharmed, were taken to a nearby hotel for temporary housing, officials said.
“We pretty much lost everything, but we got each other here,” Amy Andrus of Wapakoneta said. “I will be OK, I had renter’s insurance. My fellow neighbors did not. I hurt for them.”
Randy’s Barber Shop, a business inside the building, also was affected. The owner is reportedly working on relocating the business and will reopen as soon as possible.
The Ohio State Fire Marshal is assisting Wapakoneta police in the investigation.