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Officials respond to fire at listed address of man facing 5 counts of arson, released on bond

Rachel Jutz-Bauer

DELAVAN -- A man charged with five counts of arson posted bond on Dec. 19, and on Christmas Day, Tuesday, Dec. 25, his own home was on fire.

Town of Delavan police said it happened shortly before 9 a.m. at a home on Darlington Street. Arriving first responders found a fully-engulfed shed at the scene, which started the unattached garage on fire as well. The fire was extinguished, and police said an investigation revealed it was suspicious in nature.

Richard Charles Owens

"Well, my Christmas Day actually was being woken up to my dad hitting my door to tell me that there was a fire behind my house," said Rachel Jutz-Bauer, neighbor.

It wasn't the Christmas morning Jutz-Bauer was expecting.

"That's way too close," said Richard Charles Owens. "I'm scared for her. I'm scared for my grandson."

Tuesday's fire happened at the listed address for Daniel Zitella, 29. He was charged with five counts of arson on Dec. 18.

Daniel Zitella

Zitella was arrested after two fires in Delavan on Dec. 10 and Dec. 12. Prosecutors said Zitella told officials he was also involved in three other fires dating back to 2016.

Court records show he has serious mental health issues, and prosecutors said he admitted to setting other fires in the Delavan neighborhood. He was released on Dec. 19 after posting his $1,000 bond.

Police have not said who or what started the fire on Christmas Day, but they did take a man away from the scene in a squad car.

"You don't want to lose a life from a fire," said Owens.

Neighbors said they hope Zitella gets the help he needs, and that the courts grant one last Christmas wish.

"To make this area safe again for everybody. People have lives and living a life of being scared everyday is not fair to us," said Jutz-Bauer.