DES MOINES, Iowa – A fire at a hotel on Des Moines’ south side early Monday morning has been ruled arson and police have made an arrest in the case.
Richard Thompson, 33, is charged with first-degree arson in connection with the fire at the Fleur Lodge. Court documents say this is the second motel/hotel fire he has been involved in over the last year.
A criminal complaint filed in the case said Thompson was seen on surveillance video fleeing from his unit and looking back from the parking lot multiple times at the building, before leaving the scene. After Thompson left, flames became visible coming from a second story of the hotel.
Lt. Rick Thomas with the Des Moines Fire Department said fire crews responded to the hotel shortly before 1:00 a.m. The fire was put out quickly and fire personnel were able to clear the scene by around 2:30 p.m.
No one was injured in the fire but some residents were displaced.
The criminal complaint said Thompson returned to the scene and lied to detectives, telling them he was passing in the area and did not live there.
Thompson also allegedly made statements after being Mirandized that “he got away with” the first fire at the motel.
He is being held in the Polk County Jail.