Arrest made in Tuesday morning Cedar Rapids apartment fire
Suspect has two prior arson convictions
CEDAR RAPIDS — A fire at a Cedar Rapids apartment complex earlier this week was arson and the alleged culprit has a history of starting fires, according to court documents.
The Linn County Attorney’s Office has charged Scott A. Hatchel, 38, of 393 15th Ave. SW in Cedar Rapids, with first-degree arson for the Tuesday morning fire at 3320 Queen Dr. SW, an apartment complex that houses many elderly residents and people with disabilities, according to a criminal complaint.
The Cedar Rapids Fire Department was called to the complex just after midnight Tuesday morning. Firefighters said the front awning of the building was on fire when they arrived. The fire was knocked down and did not spread to the interior of the structure, the fire department said.
Residents of the building were able to safely evacuate. No one was hurt and the residents were allowed back into their apartments, according to the fire department.
The criminal complaint states surveillance footage showed Hatchel starting the fire.
Hatchel has two previous convictions for second-degree arson and was on probation for the latest offense, which he had pleaded guilty to in January 2015.
First-degree arson is a Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison.