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Man sentenced to 9 years in prison for setting fire at historic Indiana building

Charles James Perrin, 25, was sentenced to nine years in prison for the fire.

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — A southwestern Indiana man was sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to setting a fire that gutted a historic century-old building which had been slated for restoration.

A Vanderburgh County judge sentenced Charles James Perrin, 25, on Tuesday after the Evansville man pleaded guilty to felony charges of arson and criminal mischief in the May fire that left the Pearl Laundry Center building in ruins, the Evansville Courier & Press reported.

Perrin was arrested on May 18 and accused of setting fire the previous day to the downtown Evansville building, which was once known as “Pearl Steam Laundry."

Investigators described the fire as a criminal act of “self-gratification." Police said Perrin told officers that after setting the fire, he returned to the scene to “admire his work.”

The Pearl Laundry Center was built in 1912 and was added in 1984 to the National Register of Historic Places.

The laundry business closed in 2018, but prior to the fire, Pearl Development LLC had hoped to revamp the historic brick building into a commercial space in Evansville, an Ohio River city about 170 miles southwest of Indianapolis.

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