A Lower East Side man has been charged with arson and related offenses after a July 25 fire destroyed a vacant house at 602 Chestnut St.

New Castle police reported that Paul Maldonado, 41, of 411 Pine St. was seen on his own surveillance video walking over to the house before firefighters arrived to find it engulfed in flames.

According to a criminal complaint, there was no utility service to the house when the fire broke out, and by the time the incident was reported to the  911 center, the fire already had spread into the house next door at 604 Chestnut St.

Police said they received information that Maldonado had been seen entering and leaving the house at 602 Chestnut St. just before the fire started.

Maldonado told the police his outside security system was not working. The police obtained search warrants for his house and they confiscated a video recorder in the living room. They also obtained a search warrant for the video system, which at one point showed Maldonado going over to the house, then leaving, then it shows a glow between the two houses getting larger, the report said. 

Police noted that multiple New Castle firefighters were called to battle the blaze, and later the department was called out again to put out a fire that had rekindled, the paperwork states.

Maldonado was arrested yesterday and charged with two counts of arson and one count each of causing catastrophe and tampering with physical evidence.

He was arraigned by District Judge Melissa A. Amodie, who committed him to the Lawrence County jail on $20,000 bond.

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