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Bloomington man pleads guilty to Bissell Street arson

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BLOOMINGTON — A Bloomington man pleaded guilty Monday to one count of arson in connection to an April 2020 house fire.

Andrew L. Stanley, 39, pleaded guilty to one count of arson (class 2 felony), while one charge of aggravated arson (class X felony) was dismissed in a plea agreement.

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Bloomington firefighters wait their turn to enter a two-story home at 809 E. Bissell St., Monday, April 13, 2020. Fire investigators were called to the scene to determine the cause of the fire that caused heavy damage to the first floor and smoke damage throughout the house about 3:15 p.m.

Prosecutors said in a factual basis statement that Stanley intentionally ignited a fire in his house April 13, 2020, in the 800 block of Bissell Street in Bloomington. A woman and a teenage girl were in the home at the time of the fire, but no injuries were reported.

Stanley had been in an argument with his wife that day, but left his residence to obtain a gas can from a nearby gas station, prosecutors said. He returned home, poured gasoline in his bedroom and used a lighter to start a fire, prosecutors said.

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Bloomington firefighters tend to their equipment after extinguishing a fire in a two-story home at 809 E. Bissell St., Monday, April 13, 2020.

Bloomington Police and Fire departments were called to the home at about 3:45 p.m. that day for a reported domestic dispute and a structural fire.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze in about five minutes, authorities said at the time.

Fire officials said the flames were contained within the bedroom, but the house suffered significant smoke and heat damage.

A fire investigation preliminarily determined that it had started in a bedroom and it indicated that it was not accidental.

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A Bloomington firefighter investigates the scene of a fire in a two-story home at 809 E. Bissell St., Monday, April 13, 2020. Fire investigators were called to the scene to determine the cause of the fire that caused heavy damage to the first floor and smoke damage throughout the house about 3:15 p.m.

Stanley was arrested later April 13, 2020, and he was charged with aggravated arson the next day.

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Bloomington firefighters look into interior spaces as they search for hot spots after fire ripped through a two-story home at 809 E. Bissell St., Monday, April 13, 2020.

He was jailed for about a month and a half in lieu of posting $15,035. His bond was eventually reduced and he was released from custody in June 2020 posting a $4,035 bond.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 30.

Stanley could be sentenced to between three and seven years in prison or he is eligible to be sentenced to probation, which includes up to 48 months of probation with the possibility of up to 180 days in jail.


Contact Kade Heather at 309-820-3256. Follow him on Twitter: @kadeheather

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