116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — An Iowa City man poured lighter fluid under a woman’s upper-level apartment door to start a fire Sunday night, trapping her and four others, police said.
Ishmael S. Carter, 32, had been knocking on the woman’s door in the 600 block of East Court Street for 20 minutes, according to information in a criminal complaint. She was able to see him through a peep hole.
After the knocks stopped, the woman saw a liquid spilling underneath her door, which resulted in a large fire at about 11:14 p.m.
The woman, her children and a boyfriend went to the apartment’s balcony until the Iowa City Fire Department put out the blaze. The fire caused an estimated $50,000 in damage, according to a news release.
Police said Carter was watching the fire, and witnesses observed him in the building and outside the building before the fire. Also, police said he was seen purchasing the lighter fluid, and the bottle was found in a dumpster behind the apartments.
Carter has been charged with first-degree arson and is being held in the Johnson County Jail on $100,000 cash or surety bond. The charge is a Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison.