LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- A 53-year-old man has been arrested for arson in a Saturday morning fire in a four-unit apartment fire on the east side of the valley that burned a small toddler and a woman.
Richard Arlen Jones, 53, was arrested by a Metro officer Saturday afternoon as he was sitting on a curb on 15th Street. Jones was transported to the Clark County Detention Center and charged with one count of first-degree arson. He is being held on $20,000 bond.
Fire dispatchers received numerous calls shortly before 10 a.m. that an apartment building at the Cedar Village Apartments, 2850 Cedar Avenue (Eastern/I-515) was on fire. A large column of black smoke could be seen coming from the building as fire units raced to the scene.
When firefighters arrived, heavy flames were showing on the outside of a 2-story wood frame/stucco apartment building. All 24 units were evacuated. The main portion of the fire was in front of four apartments that were in the center of the building.
It took firefighters less than five minutes to knock most of the fire down. The fire was on the outside of the building on the patio/balcony of each unit. Firefighters were able to keep the fire from entering any of the apartments. The balcony/patio areas of all four apartments were destroyed. The outside of the building had damage; the inside of the apartments had light to heavy smoke damage. Damage was estimated at $100,000.
Two units were occupied with one person each, the other two were vacant. Two people are displaced and being assisted by the American Red Cross.
The occupant of the apartment where the fire started told fire investigators that a domestic dispute erupted between her and her husband who does not live there. Outside on the patio, where the front door is located, several pieces of furniture and items were stacked that used to be inside the apartment.
The woman told fire investigators that she saw here husband light a mattress on fire with a lighter, but then he quickly put it out. She did not go outside to confront him about it. A few minutes later when she looked outside all the contents were on fire. Neighbors told fire investigators that they heard a verbal exchange between the man and woman just prior to the fire. He was seen outside by the pile of furniture, then was seen walking away from the pile just before it caught fire. Neighbors used 12 fire extinguishers to try to knock down the fire, but it was far too intense.
A small girl was burned on the forearm as an ember fell on it as she waiting in the parking lot after being evacuated. She was taken to the hospital to be checked out at the request of her mother. Another woman was treated for first-degree burns on the arms from when she was leaving her apartment across the sidewalk in the next building. Flames were so intense that the heat caused her arms to burn. She was treated on scene and released.