A 35-year-old man was charged with arson and criminal mischief for allegedly setting fire Tuesday morning to a Decatur home and a vehicle parked at a local hotel, according to authorities.
“We’ve determined the fires to be incendiary,” but there’s still “an ongoing, active investigation,” said Decatur Fire Marshal Jason Jones.
Decatur police said Bernard Obrian Driskell was arrested Tuesday.
The fires were at a residence at 1009 Hillwood Drive S.W. and a vehicle in a parking lot at La Quinta Inn at 918 Beltline Road S.W. The charred silver Chevy Tahoe was in front of the hotel Tuesday morning.
Decatur police Capt. Jeremy Hayes, who was at the scene of the house fire, said “the occupant was not staying there. The occupant was staying in a local hotel. After (the suspect) set the home on fire, he went to the local hotel and set the victim’s vehicle on fire.”
Morgan County Jail records shows that Driskell has been charged with second-degree arson, second-degree domestic violence/first-degree criminal mischief, second-degree domestic violence/third-degree burglary, certain persons forbidden to possess a firearm, possession of a controlled substance and several misdemeanors including reckless driving, reckless endangerment, attempting to elude, running a stop sign, speeding, driving while revoked and carrying a pistol without a permit.
The bail for those charges is $153,100, according to jail records.
“The origin of the house fire appears to be in the living room,” Jones said. “The fire was confined to the room of origin.” The vehicle fire was confined to the vehicle, he said, with no damage to other vehicles or to the hotel.
“We did not find any evidence of accelerants at the home,” Jones said. He said an “accelerant-detection canine” was brought in by an assisting fire investigator, and there was “no change of behavior noted with the use of the dog.”
“The vehicle did appear to have evidence of a flammable liquid container inside,” Jones said. Although the container did have some fire damage, investigators could “tell what kind of container it was,” he said.
Fire Chief Tracy Thornton said Decatur Fire & Rescue responded at 7:09 a.m. Tuesday to the residence and at 7:16 a.m. to the vehicle fire.