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Covington man faces arson charges in connection with Gaither Street fire

COVINGTON — One man has been arrested and the investigation is continuing into the alleged arson that resulted in a fire Tuesday morning at 3126 Gaither St., according to Assistant Fire Marshal Capt. Tony Smith of the Covington Fire Department.

Richard Douglas Norton, 31, of the Gaither Street address, faces charges of first-degree arson, criminal damage to property, insurance fraud and obstruction of law enforcement officers.

Smith said neither Norton nor his roommate were at home at the time the blaze broke out. It was discovered about 3 a.m. when a passing Covington Police Department officer spotted it and alerted authorities.

“He (Norton) deliberately set the house on fire,” Smith said, adding that investigators were not prepared to release the actual cause of the fire at this time. “The investigation is continuing.”

Smith said there were several factors that led fire investigators to conclude that the fire was the result of arson.

“The investigation of the scene itself gave us some indications, but also our initial conversation with both tenants was suspicious,” Smith said. “As we looked a little deeper into the two of them and after talking with neighbors and friends and verifying their stories … last night he finally confessed.”

Smith said the two men had lived at the house for only 22 days, having moved there from the house next door.

“They were actually in the process of leaving this house (the one that burned) and moving towards the Athens area,” Smith said.