NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – A man has been arrested in connection to a food pantry fire in Norman. The arrest comes just 3 weeks after the fire was set.
“After interviewing the suspect, he did admit to starting the fire,” said Norman Fire Inspector Greg Berchtold.
The suspect in the photos released by the Norman Fire Department, identified as William Blanket III, was arrested on a second-degree arson complaint. Berchtold said he was caught on surveillance video from a nearby business setting fire to the small food pantry structure near Porter Avenue and Eufaula Street in late August.
“It was unclear exactly what his intent was,” Berchtold said.
It was just last week when Norman police recognized Blanket as a person of interest in the case. At the time, he was already in custody on unrelated charges. The Norman Fire Marshal went to question him and after originally denying the charges, Berchtold said Blanket admitted to the crime.
“The food pantry was demolished. It was destroyed,” he said.
Along with causing damage to this small pantry structure, workers at the coffee shop it sits behind tell KFOR it also did some damage to their building.
People who run the pantry left a note inside the structure that now sits charred saying in part “we are not shutting down operations but will be cleaning up, replacing the pantry with a new structure soon and adding back a fridge…” The note also asks people to embrace community care.
Meanwhile, Berchtold said at the end of the day, they’re glad they could achieve their goal.
“Main goal at the end of the day, it’s one less person out there starting fires,” he said.
The investigation is still ongoing. The pantry’s full note can be read in this story along with ways to donate to them.