Syracuse man charged with arson following investigation into Butternut St. fire

Scene of the fire on Butternut Street.

A 56-year-old Syracuse man is facing charges after a fire on Butternut Street Wednesday.

Patrick Kelley, of Kappesser Street, was arrested and charged with first degree arson.

Friday afternoon at a news conference, Syracuse Police showed reporters video from a north side police surveillance camera, showing a man walking by the house at 931 Butternut Street around 2:00 a.m. on Wednesday, lighting something on fire, and throwing it onto the porch

Syracuse Fire Chief Paul Linnertz says a woman who lived in that house was home at the time and was rescued by firefighters

The woman is still in critical condition at a local hospital.

Kelley has three prior arson charges dating back to 1973, according to police.

In 1992 he was charged with second degree arson and attempted murder. He pleaded guilty to third degree arson and spent seven years in prison.

Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler says Kelley admitted he set the fire after officers arrested him this morning.

Fowler says he believes Kelley was influenced to admit to the crime when police made him aware that they had him on camera committing the arson.

Fowler says surveillance footage exonerates two young men who were seen near the fire as it started. The footage shows they were witnesses, but not involved. Chief Fowler would not comment on any possible motive.

Kelley is being held in the Onondaga County Justice Center and will be arraigned in Syracuse City Court Saturday morning.