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Gastonia man charged with arson

A Gastonia man has been charged with arson in the March 14 fire that razed a mini mall on Old York Road, authorities said Tuesday.

Fred Anderson Phillips Jr., 52, was charged with burning a building, warehouse or factory and malicious use of incendiary material, according to Gaston County Police.

About 65 firefighters from seven departments were called to help control the early morning fire at the strip mall with five businesses, including Roy Gunn’s Carpet World.

Gunn estimated the damage to the building at $1 million. Firefighters were able to save contents in two businesses.

The Gaston County Fire Marshal’s Office and Gaston County Police Department began an investigation to determine the cause and origin of the blaze.

Authorities said the area of the fire’s origin was in an adjacent storage building behind the main building, which housed the flooring business. A suspect was developed from an unrelated domestic investigation, police said.

According to authorities, Phillips was interviewed as a result of the investigation and disclosed his involvement in the fire.

Phillips was also charged with assault by strangulation as an upgraded charge for the unrelated domestic investigation, police said.

He was being held in the Gaston County Jail on a $20,000 bond.

DePriest: 704-868-7745
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