Man arrested in attempted arson at Westerville medical facility

A man has been taken into custody in connection with an attempted aggravated arson attack at a Westerville medical facility on Thursday, police said.

Prison records identified the man as 26-year-old Izchuukwu Ogbuehi, who allegedly left petrol in the lobby of the medical facility and threatened to set it on fire, officials said.

Westerville Deputy Fire Chief David Williams said there was a gallon of gasoline at the exit where many people enter and leave the building. “This could have killed many people.”

Westerville Police said the suspect started two other fires Thursday morning. One is Kroger on Morse Street and he is McDonald’s on Morse Street.

Detective Judge Alloway of the Westerville Police Department said, “We are very fortunate that none of them were injured.” “I don’t see any connection between the three until I talk to him.”

Police said no damage or injuries were reported. Both were small fires and CFD responded.

The indictment lists eyewitness accounts of seeing the suspect pour liquid from a clear plastic container onto the floor. Witnesses said they had a piece of paper and what appeared to be a lighter.

Surveillance footage from a gas station at 462 West Main Street showed the same man pouring $4 worth of gas into a clear plastic bottle, police said.

According to court documents, the man refused to say he would be taken into custody or be identified.

City officials said the medical facility had been evacuated but everyone was now indoors. No one was injured and no major damage was reported.

“As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw a large fire truck and an ambulance with lights on,” said Lisette Schreiber. “I thought something was going on inside the building. We are not allowed inside.”

Shriver said she took her son to the building for a check-up shortly after the medical facility was evacuated.

Schreiber described what the facility looked like after patients and staff were allowed back into the building.

“As soon as I walked in the front door, there was a strong smell of gasoline, just like when you fill up at a gas station and you smell strong gasoline,” she said. “I don’t know what the suspect’s motives were, but it was certainly scary and I wish I hadn’t been there sooner when something like that was happening.”

Schreiber said she felt safe returning to the medical wing.

“Having heard that he had left the area and that there were police in the lobby, they thought the danger had passed and there was proper surveillance,” she said.

“Today’s development was definitely not what I expected,” continued Schreiber. “Thankfully he didn’t seem to get through whatever his plans were, but it couldn’t be worse.”

Ogbuehi was detained Thursday afternoon. His arraignment in Franklin County District Court is scheduled for Friday morning.

“Always be aware of your surroundings,” Deputy Chief Williams warned. “This is a perfect example of knowing multiple ways to escape from a building.”

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