According to Phoenixville Detective Gary Lynch, James Charles Skeeters, 35, of the 400 block of Nutt Road, admitted to both fire and police officials that he started a fire inside his apartment at E building at 9:37 p.m. Jan. 8.

"Fire officials arrived on the scene that evening and discovered smoke from inside the E building," said Lynch. "People were coming out of the building coughing and hacking."

Lynch said Chester County Fire Marshal Brian Gallagher arrived on the scene and began his investigation.

"The fire, which was burning clothing, started in the bathroom of Skeeters' apartment," Lynch said. "The fire in the tub destroyed the clothing, damaged the tub and caused a moderate amount of smoke damage to the bathroom and adjacent bedroom."

During Gallagher's investigation, Lynch said Gallagher was approached by Skeeters.

"Skeeters told Gallagher that he had set the fire," Lynch said. "Skeeters said he had a fight with his girlfriend and that he decided to burn the clothes that she had given him. He put them in the bathtub and set them on fire."

Lynch said Skeeters also told Officer Jose Sousa that he had started the fire in the bathtub.

Skeeters is charged with risking catastrophe; criminal mischief; and recklessly endangering another person.

He was arraigned before District Justice Ted Michaels late Monday afternoon and was released on $100,000 unsecured bail.

His next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 19, 2004.

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