KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office is releasing more information into an excavator fire ruled as arson earlier this month.

The fire happened Sept. 14, 2022 in the 800 block of Stover Road near Institute and Dunbar. The Institute Volunteer Fire Department responded and put out the blaze, ruling the fire had been intentionally set.

According to the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office, the excavator belonged to the company Rodney Loftis and Son. The equipment was being used to demolish houses on Stover Road that had been condemned by the Kanawha County Planning Commission.

The KCSO says deputies spoke with witnesses who allegedly saw the suspect, identified as Bryan Ramella, 40, and a woman described as his girlfriend in the area before and during the time of the fire, but left before authorities arrived on scene. Detectives say they also learned one of the properties that had been demolished and one scheduled for demolition had been associated with Ramella or a relative of his.

Deputies say surveillance footage matched the witnesses’ accounts. The KCSO then put out a warrant for Ramella in connection to the fire. He was arrested Thursday, Sept. 29 at a home in the 1500 block of Kanawha State Forest Drive.

Ramella is charged with felony destruction of property and a misdemeanor fleeing warrant, according to the KCSO. Deputies say Ramella’s bond was set to $50,000 cash-only, and includes a condition of home confinement if the bond is met.

The estimated damages to the excavator exceeded $70,000, according to KCSO.