Kenoza Lake man arrested for starting fire

JEFFERSONVILLE, NY — A Kenoza Lake man has been arrested for intentionally starting a fire at the Sunoco  Country Store in Jeffersonville.

According to the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, Jacques Pluss, 65, is accused of damaging a fuel line from a propane tank at the rear of the store on September 29, and igniting the leaking fuel.

A good Samaritan put out the fire using a fire extinguisher from inside the store.  Sullivan County Sheriff Mike Schiff said, "The scene was still dangerous when the fire department arrived as gas was still leaking. The fire had damaged an 8 foot by 10 foot section of the outside wall". Schiff identified the good Samaritan as Craig Lanese of Jeffersonville, who is a regular customer at the Sunoco Country Store. "Mr. Lanese is a hero", said Schiff, "he held it down until the fire department could get there and turn off the tanks. A major disaster was averted".    

Sullivan County Bureau of Fire Investigators investigated the incident and found that the fuel line had been intentionally damaged and the leaking gas had been intentionally ignited. Sheriff’s deputies believe Pluss was responsible for the fire because he appeared on video surveillance walking behind the building just prior to the incident. Deputies arrested Pluss on October 12.

After the arraignment, Town of Callicoon Judge Edward T. McKenna remanded Pluss to the Sullivan County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.


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