Man arrested for fire at Phoenix hookah lounge

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Investigators said a fire at a hookah lounge in a Phoenix strip mall early Monday morning was arson. By Catherine Holland Investigators said a fire at a hookah lounge in a Phoenix strip mall early Monday morning was arson. By Catherine Holland
Jerry Gingerich By Jennifer Thomas Jerry Gingerich By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- A transient has been arrested for allegedly setting a fire at a Phoenix strip mall early Monday morning.

Phoenix Fire Department arson investigators said Jerry Lynn Gingerich, 65, set a fire outside Night Lover, a pool hall and hookah lounge, at 35th Avenue and Cactus Road.

Fire Capt. Jonathan Jacobs said Gingerich got into an altercation at the hookah lounge and was asked to leave.

He then went to a 24-hour restaurant next door and made statements that he was going to burn down the lounge.

Jacobs said Gingerich waited in the area for about three hours then lit a couch on fire, causing about $50,000 in damage to the strip mall.

Gingerich was arrested on Thursday and charged with arson.

Jacobs said surveillance videos and witness statements led to the arrest.