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Buffalo police have made an arrest in the murder of Brian Dombek, the 52-year-old South Buffalo man who was brutally beaten and then set on fire earlier this week in his home.

David Meyers, 19, of Buffalo, described as an acquaintance of the victim, has been charged with second-degree murder.

The fire was set in an attempt to cover up the slaying, authorities said Friday night.

“Detectives had developed a possible suspect, and this suspect did make admissions to the police, regarding what took place Tuesday night,” said Dennis J. Richards, chief of detectives. Meyers was being held in the police lock-up, pending a City Court appearance this morning.

Police and fire marshals initially believed that the fire in the Sirret Street home about 10 p.m. Tuesday was caused by careless smoking.

But an autopsy revealed the victim had been beaten to death before the blaze started, a homicide police source said.

Police had hesitated to reveal the identity of the victim because he was so severely attacked with a blunt object in the face that his features were beyond recognition.

In addition, the fire, which quickly spread throughout the 1½-story, wood-frame house at 65 Sirret, destroyed his fingerprints.

Witnesses told police they saw a man running from the house just after the blaze was spotted.

A motive for the slaying remains under investigation, authorities said.

Dombek’s dog also died in the blaze. It is believed Dombek lived alone, though his fiancée sometimes spent time at the residence, authorities said.

Richards praised the work of Detective Sgt. Carl A. Lundin and Detectives Timothy J. Salamone and Joy L. Jermain. South District Officers James T. Reese and Nathan R. Maryanski alerted the Buffalo Fire Department to the fire.

email: lmichel@buffnews.com