Sterling man turns himself in, charged with setting fire to a home

Nathan D. Pyron in June 2023

STERLING – A 34-year-old Sterling man who turned himself in to police after a house fire Thursday was charged Friday with two counts of arson.

Nathan D. “Nate” Pyron surrendered about 9 a.m., eight hours after firefighters responded to 1803 22nd Ave., Sterling police said in a news release.

The state’s attorney’s office sought a $100,000 bond, but it was set Friday at $20,000, Whiteside County Court records show.

Pyron posted $2,000 and was freed.

The fire did moderate damage to the attached garage, where it began, while the single-story home sustained smoke damage throughout, Sterling Deputy Fire Chief Dave Northcutt said Thursday afternoon.

The lone occupant was not injured in the fire, which was called in at 1:07 a.m. by a neighbor, Northcutt said, adding that it took about 30 minutes to get it under control.

A preliminary investigation determined the fire was suspicious, Sterling police said in a news release Friday.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Illinois State Police Crime Scene Investigation unit were called in to assist in the investigation, according to the release.

Pyron was charged Friday with aggravated arson with a person was present, which is punishable by six to 30 years in prison, and residential arson, which carries four to 15 years.

He was assigned a public defender and has a preliminary hearing July 10.

Aside from two misdemeanor DUI convictions in Whiteside County in 2007 and 2018, Pyron has no criminal history in the Sauk Valley, court records show.

Kathleen Schultz

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.