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Public Safety

Cedar Rapids man faces murder charge in apartment fire

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man previously charged with setting the blaze at Hawthorne Hills Apartments has now been charged in one man’s death who died as a result of the fire.

Dallas Tullis, 24, was charged Friday with first-degree murder and was previously charged with first-degree arson, assault on a peace officer and assault causing bodily injury.

A criminal complaint shows Steven Craig Balvin died from injuries in a fire intentionally set Feb. 28 at 2255 C St. SW.

Tullis is also accused of assaulting a police officer and a hospital security guard, according to the complaint. Tullis, who was also injured in the fire, assaulted Cedar Rapids police officer Scott Syverson and Wade Shelton, a Mercy Hospital security guard, while Tullis was being treated at the hospital.

An investigation determined the fire started inside Tullis’ apartment, according to the complaint. Investigators interviewed a number of witnesses who said Tullis was involved in several conflicts with other tenants and management in the weeks preceding the fire.

Balvin, two other tenants and a firefighter were hospitalized for injuries, according to officials. Several others were also injured in the fire.

The apartment complex had significant fire, heat and smoke damage, which displaced all the residents, a public safety spokesperson said at the time.

The City of Cedar Rapids Housing Services Department provided housing assistance for residents.

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