Albion man charged with felony reckless endangerment, arson from fire on Saturday

Photos by Tom Rivers: Albion Police Chief Roland Nenni announces charges against Gary Tarr and details the danger of homemade fireworks that Tarr has shared with people in the community. Nenni urged people to call 911 who have the fireworks so a bomb technician can remove them. Nenni is joined at the press conference by, from left: Rick Cary, a state fire investigator; Dale Banker, director of the Orleans County Emergency Management Office; District Attorney Joe Cardone; and Eileen Banker, Albion mayor.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 December 2020 at 10:51 am

ALBION — An Albion man is facing numerous felony charges for a fire on Saturday that destroyed three houses.

Gary A. Tarr

Gary A. Tarr was mixing compounds to make fireworks at a garage on 221 West State St. He lit a small portion of the firework to test it. It exploded and a massive fire quickly engulfed the garage and a house he shares with his girlfriend. The fire spread to two neighboring homes, one on East Academy Street and the other on West State Street.

Tarr was charged on Thursday with 5 counts of reckless endangerment in the first degree, a D felony; three counts of fourth-degree arson, an E felony; three counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief, an A misdemeanor; and three counts of reckless endangerment to property, a B misdemeanor.

The top charges carry a maximum of 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison. Tarr has no prior criminal record.

He was issued an appearance ticket to Albion Town Court on March 2. The court dates have been pushed back due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the rising cases locally and in the region.

“I do want to state that this was an individual who foolishly got in involved in a very dangerous activity that has endangered other people in the community and could have led to far worse consequences but for the quick action of law enforcement,” District Attorney Joe Cardone stated at the news conference this morning at the Albion Village Hall.

Tarr faces five counts of reckless endangerment because five people were inside the three houses when he caused the fire at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. The three counts of arson are for the three houses that were badly damaged.

Two of the houses have been declared total losses and are expected to be torn down in the next week, Police Chief Roland Nenni said.

The other house on East Academy Street is being evaluated and is expected to be declared a total loss and removed as well, Nenni said.

Tarr was treated for injuries to his face and torso at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. He also has an “extreme loss of hearing,” the Albion police chief said.

Tarr has made many fireworks and distributed them in the community. Those fireworks are “extremely dangerous,” Nenni said. They have a very quick burn rate from the fuse and are highly combustible. The police chief urged people who have them to call 911 and a bomb technician will be called to remove them. People who have the fireworks won’t face any charges, Nenni said.

The fireworks resemble a toilet paper roll with a fuse.

Orleans Hub with have more soon from the 10 a.m. news conference today.

Orleans County District Attorney Joe Cardone said Gary Tarr’s actions were extremely reckless and put others at risk in the community.