The building was home to the South Side Chamber of Commerce offices, a barbershop and six apartments.
Pittsburgh police said Christian Ross (pictured below), 25, of Pittsburgh was arrested and faces the following charges: aggravated arson, two counts of arson endangering persons, two counts of arson endangering property, one count of criminal mischief and one count of causing a catastrophe.
Pittsburgh police, Christian Ross
According to the criminal complaint, Ross was a former tenant in an apartment on the second floor. Investigators said he broke into the apartment multiple times last year after he moved out.
On the day of the fire, investigators said he was allowed back inside to remove his belongings while unsupervised.
May 5, police said Ross handed over a written confession note as an inmate inside the Allegheny County Jail for an unrelated incident.
However, before the confession note, police said surveillance cameras captured Ross leaving the building while it was on fire.The cameras are mounted on the side of the First National Bank building next door.
Investigators also said Ross used a small propane/butane torch to start the fire and he later left it behind at a friend’s house.
The criminal complaint said Ross did not say why he set the fire but did say he only confessed because the incident had been “weighing on him.”
Police said Ross is currently being held in the Allegheny County Jail on separate charges.”
This arrest and corresponding charges were made possible thanks to the seamless cooperation between our Fire Investigation Unit, the ATF, and the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office. I thank everyone for their hard work in bringing this case to a close,” Department of Public Safety Director, Wendell Hissrich said in a news release.