An investigation by Sullivan County deputies led to the arrest of Charles James Ellis, 28, a reputed gang member, of Kiameshia Lake, NY, for arson in early August.

Around 1:40pm on Monday August 2, 2021, firefighters were dispatched to a structure fire in the Town of Thompson, NY, at 428 Fraser Road.  The dwelling, located across the street from the Kiamesha Bowling Alley is home to several residents, was determined to be intentionally set on fire by Ellis.

Seven residents in total were evacuated by first responders at the time of the incident, including an 11 month old child as well as a 59 year old man who was trapped and suffered burns.  The 59 year old male resident who suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns was transported to Westchester Medical Center and is expected to recover.

In addition to the Monticello Fire Department, the following agencies were also on scene at the time of the fire:  Rock Hill, Wurtsboro, Woodridge, Liberty, Livingston Manor, White Sulpher Springs, Hurleyville and Port Jervis Fire Departments, Bethel F.A.S.T. Team, Sullivan County Fire Investigators, Mobile Medic, Hackensack AirMed One and the New York State Police.

It was determined that the fire appeared to be intentionally set following an investigation by county fire investigators and assistance from the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office.  Deputies then determined that the fire was set to coverup a burglary of a room in the building, and on Wednesday August 11th, Ellis, a reputed member of the Bloods Street Gang, was arrested for the crime.

The 28 year old Ellis, was arraigned in the Town of Thompson Court in front of Judge Sharon Jankiewicz, and remanded to the Sullivan County Jail without bail after being charged with the following felonies:  arson, burglary, reckless endangerment, and assault.

Sullivan County Sheriff Mike Schiff provided acknowledgment to Deputy Sheriff Corey Dixon who was responsible for leading the investigation and tracking down the suspect.  He also reinforced how serious the crime was, and how it could have resulted in multiple fatalities, sharing that reports indicated that embers from the fire were falling into the crib of the 11 month old child when firefighters arrived on scene.

The structure was an old rooming house that the fire moved through very quickly.  Our firefighters did an outstanding job and saved lives.

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