State Fire Marshall's investigators make arrest in Clermont arson case

Clermont Forum Editor

A man has been arrested and faces arson charges in relation to a recent trailer fire at a local convenience store.

On July 16, the Clermont Fire Department responded to a fire inside a tractor trailer parked at a Circle-K convenience store on U.S. 27 in Clermont. After the fire was extinguished, the Florida State Fire Marshal’s office was called in to investigate.

Fire investigators determined that the fire had been intentionally set. A review of the convenience store’s surveillance video showed a suspect buying a lighter inside the store, then entering the trailer just moments before it burst into flames.

Investigators later identified the owner of the tractor trailer, Donald Gilles, as being the same man seen on the surveillance video. After additional evidence was collected, Gilles was taken into custody, and he now faces up to 15 years in prison, if convicted.

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater issued a statement saying, “I’m proud of our arson investigators for acting quickly to get this man into custody and hold him accountable for his dangerous actions. Arson is always a serious crime that has the potential injure and even take innocent lives.”

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