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CFO Jeff Atwater Announces Arson Arrest in Clermont Gas Station Fire


Contact: Chris Cate
(850) 413- 2842
TALLAHASSEE- Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater today announced the arrest of Donald Gilles on arson charges after he allegedly set fire to a tractor trailer parked on the property of a Clermont convenient store.
“I’m proud of our arson investigators for acting quickly to get this man into custody and hold him accountable for his dangerous actions,” said CFO Atwater. “Arson is always a serious crime that has the potential injure and even take innocent lives.”
On the afternoon of July 16, the Clermont Fire Department responded to a vehicle fire at a Circle-K convenient store located on 190 N US 27 in Clermont. After the fire was extinguished, the Florida State Fire Marshal’s (SFM) office was requested to investigate. SFM crews determined the fire to be incendiary, or intentionally set, and upon review of store surveillance video, a suspect was seen purchasing a lighter from inside the convenient store and entering the trailer moments before it erupted into flames.
The owner of the tractor trailer positively identified the man on the surveillance video as Donald Gilles, and after additional evidence was collected, Gilles was taken into custody without incident.  He faces up to fifteen years in prison, if convicted.
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government; reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses and providing transparency and accountability in state spending.