Storm Lake, IA (KICD)–An Aurelia man faces arson charges in connection to a weekend apartment fire.
Storm Lake Police and Fire were called out around 4:00 Saturday afternoon to 205 West 6th Street. Crews arrived to find smoke on the west side of the building and heavy black smoke in the basement area of the complex which was evacuated. A man was found sleeping in a basement apartment near the dense smoke, and was evacuated without injury.
Fire fighters determined that a water line in the basement ruptured near the location of the fire and extinguished the fire. The fire department further located two locations where a fire was started and believed the incident was arson.
Through investigation and interviews it was determined that 22-year-old Vincent Nichols was seen photographing fire fighters and police officers upon their response to the fire. Police further allege that Nichols used to live in the apartment complex and was involved in a dispute with a former roommate.
After being questioned by Police and fire marshal investigators it was alleged that Nichols started two fires in the basement of the apartment complex in retaliation for a conflict between him and his former roommates.
Police located and seized as evidence during the investigation a backpack belonging to Nichols which contained lighters, gloves, clothing and a cellular phone.
Late Saturday night, Storm Lake Police charged Nichols with 2 class B felony counts of 1st Degree Arson. He was booked into the Buena Vista County Jail on a $50,000 bond.
Damage to the basement area of the apartments is estimated at $5,000.