Columbia man who admitted to July arson was drinking

Monday, August 11, 2014 | 7:56 p.m. CDT; updated 11:07 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, August 12, 2014

COLUMBIA — A Columbia man charged with first-degree arson in connection with a July 5 house fire had been drinking before he set his home on fire, according to court documents released Monday.

The probable cause statement, released by the 13th Circuit Court, states that Aimable Ruganzu, 26, admitted he consumed alcohol and intentionally set his own house at 2701 McClure Drive on fire with a flammable liquid and a lighter. Ruganzu was arrested Thursday on suspicion of arson in connection to the fire, according to previous Missourian reporting.

The woman who escaped from the house through a window was identified in the documents as Ruganzu's mother. She was asleep in her bedroom when the fire started, but she woke up as the smoke alarm rang and climbed out of her bedroom window to escape the blaze.

According to the documents, Ruganzu said that "he did not intend on hurting anyone, and he did not know why he set the house on fire."

The fire caused more than $75,000 in damage.

Supervising editor is Seth Klamann.

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