MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 50-year-old Brooklyn Park man is accused of setting a fire in the laundry room of the apartment complex he lived in after an argument with the building’s management, according to charges filed Friday in Hennepin County Court.
Donald Thompson was charged with first-degree arson in connection with the incident, which happened Tuesday.
According to a complaint, fire crews were called to the Willows Apartment complex on the 6500 block of 67th Avenue North on a report of a fire in progress. When authorities arrived, the fire was still active and tenants had to evacuate the area.
Authorities said the fire appeared to start in the laundry room on the third floor of the complex. It also appeared to be suspicious as there had been at least two previous fires in the same spot in the past six months. The fire caused smoke and other fire-related damage to the laundry room and hallway of the building.
The laundry room where the fire started is next door to Thompson’s apartment, the complaint states.
Surveillance video identified Thompson as the person responsible for the previous fires in the laundry room. He was arrested the morning after the fire this week, but denied any involvement in the arson.
He was then shown surveillance video of himself setting the fire on Tuesday and admitted to being responsible for it, the complaint states. He set the fire by throwing lit matches onto a liquid on the laundry room floor. He then heard an explosion and saw that the room was on fire.
Thompson told police he set the fire because he wanted to move into a smaller unit in the complex, but management wouldn’t allow him to move for a reduced rent.
If convicted, Thompson faces up to 20 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.