Columbia man arrested on suspicion of arson in July fire

Friday, August 8, 2014 | 5:20 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — A Columbia man was arrested Thursday afternoon on suspicion of arson in connection with a July fire that forced a woman to escape through a window.

Aimable Ruganzu, 26, admitted to Columbia Police Department officers that he was responsible for a July 5 fire at the 2700 block of McClure Drive. He was charged with first-degree arson after investigators discovered that a flammable liquid started the blaze, Columbia police spokeswoman Latisha Stroer said.

Just after midnight on July 5, the Columbia Fire Department arrived at the home, which had fire coming out of the front of it, according to previous Missourian reporting. It took the fire department approximately five minutes to extinguish the flames.

A woman, 49, living inside the residence woke up as the smoke alarm rang and climbed outside from her bedroom window to escape the fire. Two other people living in the residence were not present at that time. The fire left more than $75,000 in damage, Stroer said.

Ruganzu lived in the house and was related to the woman who escaped the flames, Stroer said. He has had a number of previous arrests, mostly recently for second-degree assault, according to online court documents.

Supervising editor is Seth Klamann.

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