Walworth County man charged with intentionally setting homes on fire

NOW: Walworth County man charged with intentionally setting homes on fire

DELAVAN (CBS 58) – A Walworth County man is now charged with intentionally setting homes on fire in Delavan. Two of the fires were set within days of each other just last week.

Daniel Zitella, 29, made his initial court appearance on Tuesday, December 18th. He’s facing five counts of arson with one case dating back to 2016. One of the fires was set at a home on the same day it had been closed on.

Now that new owner is stuck cleaning up the mess.

Zitella is accused of setting fire to neighboring homes on Sutter Avenue. One happened on December 10th.

“We don’t have things like that happen around here,” says Brian Guzman, a neighbor in the area.

Guzman says he watched rescue crews battle the flames on the second home just two days later along with the suspect Zitella.

“The suspect, I’ll call him, that is being charged, followed us to the corner and we had a full conversation with him about the situation,” explains Guzman. “He never said it was him, but he made a few references on the phone, whoever he was talking to “I won’t say anything. My lips are sealed”.

The home had been foreclosed but was just purchased the day the second fire was set.

Fidel Barrera says it came as a shook to him and his associate who had closed on the home that same morning.

“It’s a big impact because we had other plans for this house,” says Barrera. “We fix and sell home. Now we’re out $45,000 on the damage alone”.

It’s a price tag Barrera says he won’t be getting back.

“I’ll just let justice take its course,” says Barrera. “But I do want to thank the community for keeping a watchful eye”.

“I hope he gets whatever help he needs and he gets some kind of counseling,” says Guzman. “I don’t wish any ill on him”.

Zitella will be back in court on January 17th at 4 p.m. for a preliminary hearing.

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