Docs: ‘Striking matches’ cause of burned Gimbel Bond building

James Beamon, Provided Photo
James Beamon, Provided Photo

VINCENNES, Ind. (WTHI) – A probable cause affidavit released to News 10 Wednesday detailed how alleged arsonist James Beamon claimed he burned four buildings in Vincennes, Indiana.

The string of fires began in 2011. Beamon is preliminarily charged with four counts of arson and one count of attempted arson.

According to court documents, James Beamon, 22 of Vincennes, was interviewed by arson investigator Matt Wells on June 19. Beamon told Wells he used striking matches to start the massive Gimbel Bond Building fire in December of 2011. The document states Beamon struck the matches and tossed them on the floor inside of the building.

The blaze, according to documents, caused an estimated $900,000 in damage. News 10 records show it cost the city around $150,000 to cleanup the area following the fire.

Beamon also admitted guilt to the fire at the former Kohlhouse Building, 1241 Washington Avenue in Vincennes. Businessman David Shelton owned the building. The document reads: “Beamon intentionally and knowingly started the fire … using a lighter.”

Its damage was valued at $150,000.

The Pine Box Fire on 1043 Washington Avenue, was ignited, Beamon told investigators, by taking a lighter to a mattress. Investigators reported the damage at an estimated value of $20,000.

In May 2014, Beamon admitted to starting a fire at C&G Quality Dry Cleaners in Vincennes.

In that case, he told investigators he started the fire with a lighter near a wooden window frame. Estimated damages in the C&G fire are valued at $200,000. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you confirm your email address and acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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