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Arsonist sentenced for fire, explosion that injured Ohio firefighters

Timothy Christian was sentenced to 26 years in prison for setting a fire that injured two Akron firefighters

By Cliff Pinckard

AKRON, Ohio — An Akron man who admitted to setting a house fire that led to an explosion that injured two firefighters was sentenced Tuesday to more than two decades in prison.

Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Jennifer Towell sentenced Timothy Christian, 43, to 22 to 26 years in prison. In February, Christian pleaded guilty to aggravated arson, complicity in the commission of an offense, conspiracy and four counts of felonious assault, all felonies.

Christian also will have to register with the local sheriff as an arson offender for life.

“Two firefighters suffered significant injuries because Timothy Christian directed Stanley Winchester to set fire to his home,” Summit County Prosecutor Elliot Kolkovich said in a statement. “I’m pleased to know the public is safer with him behind bars for a long time.

“My heart goes out to the injured firefighters who put their lives on the line while trying to save others.”

On Aug. 15, 2022, firefighters were called to the home where Christian lived on the 1300 block of Winton Avenue near Vernon Odom Boulevard. When firefighters entered the house to extinguish the fire, it exploded, injuring the two men. The home partially collapsed.

After the fire, investigators found gas canisters purchased by Christian and Winchester.

On Aug. 17, 2023, Winchester, 69, of Akron, pleaded guilty in August to aggravated arson and two counts of felonious assault. Winchester, who was to testify against Christian at trial, is scheduled to be sentenced April 15.

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