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QUEENSBURY — A man staying at a motel across the road from a Route 9 house that burned this week was arrested late Thursday on an arson charge for setting the fire, police said.

Anthony J. Hart, 20, was charged with fourth-degree arson, a felony, for the Tuesday morning fire that destroyed a vacant home across from King Hendrick Motel, where he had been staying.

No one was hurt in the fire, but the home next to the former Leo’s Lobster restaurant was gutted. The home had been unused for more than a decade, as has the neighboring restaurant.

Hart told police he set a pile of leaves that was next to the house on fire, police said.

Warren County sheriff’s investigators questioned him because he created suspicion with his actions at the fire scene, sheriff’s Lt. Steve Stockdale said.

“He was asking a lot of questions of the fire personnel at the fire scene,” Stockdale said. “His behavior indicated an interest beyond what they normally see.”

Hart could not be located in the days after the fire, as he is a native of the Schenectady area who had been placed at the motel through the county Department of Social Services when he sought temporary assistance before the fire.

When police looked into his background, they found he had a history of setting at least one prior fire, Stockdale said.

Hart was arraigned and sent to Warren County Jail for lack of bail.

He is not believed to have been involved with a fire that damaged a vacant home on Bay Road in Lake Luzerne on Nov. 1. Police have not publicly declared that blaze suspicious, but the Sheriff’s Office and state Office of Fire Prevention and Control are working with fire investigators on it, as no cause has been determined.

No one was hurt during that fire, but the home was heavily damaged. The investigation of that fire is ongoing, and anyone with information was asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 518-743-2500.

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Don Lehman covers police and court matters and Warren County government. He can be reached at 518-742-3224 or dlehman@poststar.com

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reporter - crimes & courts, public safety and Warren County government

Don Lehman covers crime, Warren County government and the outdoors for The Post-Star. His work can be found on Twitter @PS_CrimeCourts and on poststar.com/app/blogs.

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