Suspected arsonist makes first court appearance

Cary Ashby • May 14, 2014 at 9:07 PM

A Norwalk man was arraigned Monday on an allegation he started a fire in a vacant Willard house.

Samuel E. Sherck, 58, of 520 Milan Ave., Lot 34, earlier posted a $15,000 bond. He appeared Monday in Huron County Common Pleas Court and entered a "not guilty" plea to aggravated arson in connection with a March 30 fire.

If convicted of the second-degree felony, Sherck faces two to eight years in prison and would be required to register as an arsonist.

Sherck, whose trial date is Aug. 21, told Judge Jim Conway he doesn't have any prior felony convictions and currently isn't on probation.

The March 30 fire destroyed the two-story house at 6 B&O Pike in Willard. The arson case was part of a joint investigation by Willard Fire & Rescue, the Willard Police Department and Ohio State Fire Marshal's Office.

Twenty-one firefighters were on the scene in three engines, a ladder truck and several support vehicles after being dispatched at 6:12 p.m. Three ambulances also responded.

"We went right into defensive mode; it was that involved," fire Chief Joe Reiderman said in April.

The homeowners lived at the house two to three years and were in the process of moving out. The house was for sale at the time of the fire.

A fire marshal's investigator interviewed Sherck at the fire station March 31. Police arrested him after he reportedly confessed to the crime and was transported to the Huron County Jail. Sherck was released two days later after posting bond.

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