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Man in custody in connection with McAdoo bar fire

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 02 2014 05:06:48 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 02 2014 05:51:31 PM CST

Schuylkill County authorities say stolen booze in the borough of McAdoo led to an early morning blaze.

MCCADOO BOROUGH, Pa. -

Schuylkill County authorities say stolen booze in the Borough of McAdoo led to an early morning blaze.

One man is in custody in connection with the fire and police are looking for others.

Recovered alcohol is about all that's left of Gene Nance's bar.

"I feel pretty bad. Pretty bad thing to happen on New Year's," he said.

Gene's Grey Goose Bar became engulfed in flames just after midnight on New Years Day. Tens of thousands of dollars spent renovating the place now up in smoke.

"I bought a limo to take people back and forth so they wouldn't have to drive. I was going to get a better menu," Gene explained.

Shortly after the blaze broke out, 31 year old Scott Branz, who lives just a block away, was arrested.

Police say he faces burglary and criminal trespass charges among others.

His arrest was a New Year's gift for investigators. Police say Branz came back to the scene of the crime, to watch the clean up.

"Noticed an individual seemed a little suspicious wearing all dark clothing. Noticed a garbage bag at that man's feet," McAdoo Police officer Anthony Divirgilo said.

The bag police say that started a liquid trail from the bar to the bag.

Stolen booze was found inside. Police said Branz, who is on parole for an unrelated crime, broke into the bar because he wasn't allowed to drink at home, where he lives with his parents.

Branz did turn himself in, and several boxes of stolen alcohol were found at his home, according to police.

Gene's plans to re-open are now toast. He doesn't expect insurance to cover his losses.

"Best thing for me to do is tear it down, get rid of the lot," he said.

Gene thinks it's arson. But police won't comment until the investigation is complete and other suspects are found.