Public Safety

Police: Iowa City man used homemade torch to burn bugs, but set fire to mattress instead

Flavio A. Martinez
Flavio A. Martinez

IOWA CITY — An Iowa City man using a homemade torch accidentally set his mattress on fire, police said.

Police were called to an apartment building at 14 N. Johnson St. around 10 p.m. Saturday, where a tenant, Flavio A. Martinez, 51, admitted to using an aerosol can and lighter to burn bugs in his room, where his mattress caught fire.

The fire department determined Martinez disabled multiple smoke alarms near the fire, police said. Martinez admitted to tampering with the alarms, saying they were “annoying and loud,” police said.

Police said Martinez’s actions created a safety hazard for his fellow tenants.

Martinez faces charges of reckless use of fire or explosives and tampering with a smoke detector. He since has been released on his recognizance.

Comments: (319) 339-3155; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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