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Published: Thursday, 12/28/2006

Adrian man charged in arson

ADRIAN - An Adrian man has been charged with setting fire last week to an Adrian dialysis center and an Adrian Township home owned by an employee of the facility, police said.

Eliseo Soto Mendez, 59, is charged with arson to real property, possession of an incendiary device causing physical injury, breaking and entering, explosives violation involving a vulnerable target, and preparation to burn real property. He's accused of setting fire at 5:40 p.m. Thursday to the Fresenius Medical Center on Lakeshire Trail.

Mr. Mendez has also been charged with arson to a dwelling and possession of an incendiary device for the fire at the home in the 3000 block of Mardan Drive set about 4 p.m.

He is being held in the Lenawee County jail in lieu of $500,000 bond on each count, totaling $3.5 million on all charges, police said.

The fire at the dialysis center was set deliberately with liquid accelerants, authorities said.

The facility was a total loss, with $890,000 damage to the building alone, not including contents, fire officials said.

Mr. Mendez was questioned by police on Friday, and a search warrant was served at his home on South Main Street that day.

He was charged with possession of heroin as a result of the search and booked into the Lenawee County jail, where police interviewed him again on Saturday, police said.

The fire-related charges were filed yesterday, police said.

Mr. Mendez was a previous patient at the dialysis center, Adrian Police Chief Terrence Collins said.

"He was a disgruntled ex-patient and has caused some problems," the chief said. "They had asked him not to come back and find another place for his treatment."

Alternative arrangements have been made for the more than 70 patients who used the dialysis center.

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