Middletown man sentenced for setting fire to apartment after argument

A man was sentenced to community control on Wednesday for setting fire to his Middletown apartment in June.

Bradley Bell, 23, formerly of Curtis Street, pleaded guilty in October to arson, a fourth-degree felony, for starting the fire in a second-floor apartment in the 200 block of Curtis Street. He was scheduled to be sentenced last month but failed to show up on time for the hearing. Butler County Common Pleas Judge Greg Howard then issued a warrant for his arrest.

Bell was able to make it to the courtroom before court concluded for the day, the warrant was revoked and sentencing was rescheduled for Wednesday, according to prosecutors.

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Howard sentenced Bell to five years probation and ordered him to make restitution for damage to the apartment. He faced up to 18 months in prison.

According to Middletown police, Bell got into an argument with his girlfriend, and she left around 3 a.m. on June 1. Less than two hours later, Bell used matches and ashes to start a fire in the apartment. Damages were estimated at $100,000.

The Middletown Fire Task Force investigated the fire, and after interviews, it arrested Bell near Franklin Twp. A 3-year-old girl living in the apartment wasn’t at home when the fire started.

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