5:29 PM EDT, September 25, 2012
A man has been charged with setting a fire that gutted a house Friday night at 6601 Remsburg Road near Antietam National Battlefield, the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office said Tuesday.
Max Eugene Godlove, 50, was charged with one count each of first-degree arson, first-degree malicious burning, reckless endangerment and threat of arson, according to a fire marshal’s office news release.
If convicted on all counts, Godlove faces a maximum of 50 years in prison and $70,000 in fines.
Authorities allege that Godlove illegally entered the vacant house and ignited combustibles. The fire caused about $60,000 in damages.
An investigation determined that Godlove told neighbors roughly a month before the incident that he intended to set fire to the house, the fire marshal’s office said.
The fire was reported at 7:29 p.m. Friday and took 45 firefighters about 90 minutes to get under control, according to the release.
One firefighter from Boonsboro Station 6 was taken to Meritus Medical Center east of Hagerstown to be treated for a hot tar burn to his face and eyes, the fire marshal’s office said. He was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Burn Center in Baltimore and released the next day.
Godlove said when he was interviewed the night of the fire that he lived at the house since 2004.
He said he was outside sitting at a picnic table at about 7:30 p.m. when he looked through a window and noticed that the inside of the house was glowing.
“To be honest with you, I don’t know what happened,” Godlove said. “I went back in and got my beers and cigars.”
Sharpsburg Deputy Fire Chief Chris Mullendore said Friday night that he believed the house was vacant, and that the fire might have been caused by a squatter.
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