Grand Jury indicts man charged with setting Alorton mayor’s house on fire

A 19-year-old man was indicted by a grand jury on Friday on a charge of aggravated arson in connection with the fire that destroyed Alorton Mayor JoAnn Reed’s home on Dec. 3.

Yadarius A. Crawford was charged with two counts of arson. The warrant states he knowingly damaged Reed’s single family residence, located at 108 N. 42nd St., with the knowledge that Reed was inside.

Crawford is scheduled to be arraigned in court Friday.

“I’m pleased to know that someone thought that I was worthy to fair and equal justice under the law,” Reed said.

“Most citizens live their entire lives without having a house fire. I had three deliberate fires which leaves me feeling empty and hopeless. One year ago almost to the day, my house was burned for the second time. I am certain the two are related.”

It is not known whether Reed is familiar with Crawford.

Yadarius A. Crawford

Reed’s house caught fire around 1 a.m. Dec. 3 while she was sleeping. She was able to escape safely, but it took fire took crews three hours to extinguish the flames.

The house was destroyed.

At the time of the investigation, Anthony LeFlore, director of Code Enforcement, said authorities believe someone threw something into Reed’s living room window, igniting the fire.

“Fifty-two years of memories are gone. My family and I no longer have pictures of my mother when she was 16-17 years old. All of our family heirlooms are gone. All of the things you cannot replace are gone,” Reed told the BND at the time.

Related stories from Belleville News-Democrat

Carolyn P. Smith has worked for the Belleville News-Democrat for 18 years and currently covers breaking news in the Metro-East. She graduated from the Journalism School at the University of Missouri at Columbia and says news is in her DNA.
Support my work with a digital subscription