Man accused of setting Volunteers of America warehouse on fire appears in court

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — It’s been almost a year since the Volunteers of America warehouse on the far west side was set on fire.

Flames blazed through the warehouse on West Broad Street the night of January 2, destroying half of the building and all of its donated items inside.

Nearly 225,000 pounds of clothing were destroyed and about $45,000 in revenue was lost.

“I can now saw we are operating at capacity,” said Stephanie Aubill, with Volunteers of America.

The organization says the process to rebuild wasn’t easy, but with help from the community they were able to recoup all of the items that were lost.

“It was amazing to see the community come together. We were actually able to recoup a lot of the loss very quickly,” said Aubill.

The man police say is responsible for this destruction is 32-year-old Aaron Callicoat of Prairie Township. Investigators say he is a “serial arsonist.”

Wednesday, he appeared in front of a Franklin County judge on charges of aggravated arson, vandalism and possession of criminal tools.

Court records show that Callicoat has a long criminal past, including kidnapping and rape charges along with several other arson fires.

Because of the fire, the community-based organization had to lease another warehouse to keep its donations.

As for the destroyed building, they were able to rebuild it and they hope to start filling it with items soon.

“Now that it is coming to a close, it is sort of a nicely wrapped gift. A nice little Christmas present of now we can move on and move forward,” said Aubill.

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