Sen. Man arrested for setting fire outside Bernie Sanders office

Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) office in Burlington, Vt. A man was arrested on Sunday for allegedly setting a fire outside an office.

Shand Sokomonian, also known as Michael Sokomonian, is accused of using fire to damage the building, according to Vermont's U.S. Attorney's Office. No injuries were reported, the office said, and a motive was unclear as of Sunday afternoon.

Sokomonian entered the Church Street building Friday morning and went directly to the third floor, where Sanders' Vermont office is located, the U.S. attorney's office said. Report. Security video footage shows the 35-year-old spraying the liquid near the office door and then lighting the area with a portable lighter.

A “significant” fire started, engulfing the door and preventing many crew members from escaping. Report From the Burlington Police Department. Sokomonian then left the building.

The exterior of the door and hallway were damaged by the fire and the building's sprinklers were destroyed. The sprinkler system “extensively extinguished the fire,” the police department said. Officers responded at 10.45 am

Sanders was not present at the time of the incident, the police department said. The company did not disclose how many employees were in the office at the time.

In a statement, the senator said he was “deeply grateful” to local, state and federal law enforcement for responding to the fire.

“I am also thankful that many people in the office building were not injured when the fire broke out,” he added. “I appreciate the support and well wishes to me and my staff. We are proud to continue serving Vermonters during these challenging times.

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Chocomonian, of Northridge, Los Angeles, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted. A lawyer for him “has not yet been identified,” the U.S. attorney's office said in a statement.

Multiple agencies investigated Friday's incident, including the Burlington Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Vermont State Police and the U.S. Capitol Police.

Burlington Mayor Emma Mulvaney-Stanuck said in a statement Sunday that she was grateful for the cooperation and that her office “will continue to be in close contact as their office navigates the implications of this incident.”

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