Burning shed leads to arrest

Sunday, July 15, 2007 | 8:44 p.m. CDT; updated 2:18 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Threatening comments and the smell of gasoline led to an arrest Saturday on suspicion of arson, according to a Columbia Fire Department news release.

Firefighters responded around 8:25 p.m. Saturday to a call that a shed was on fire at 913 Garth Ave.

In less than 10 minutes, firefighters put out the fire, which caused less than $500 in estimated damage. People at the house told firefighters that a man had made threatening comments toward them earlier in the day. When a fire investigator smelled gasoline at the site, Columbia police were asked to help with the investigation.

Information from the residents about the suspect led police to Wilford Thompson, 57, of 700 N. Garth Ave., Apt. 620. Wilson was sitting on a park bench on the corner of Garth Avenue and Sexton Road, according to the news release. Thompson made “incriminating statements” during questioning by police and was arrested on suspicion of second-degree arson, the news release said. Police suspect the arson was motivated by a domestic dispute between Thompson and the owners of the shed.

No injuries were reported.

As of Sunday night, Thompson was being held at the Boone County Jail on a $4,500 bond.

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