Posted by Arkansas 911 News Chief Editor Paul Maddox
All suspects are presumed innocent until determined guilty in court.
Hot Springs Police Detective Shoemaker reports that officers with his department were dispatched to Pratt Street Monday Night to conduct a welfare check on a man that kept calling 911 and stating that the police need to hurry. He would hang up before providing information. The report also says the the same man called 911 earlier in the night from the Garland County Sheriff’s Department.
Officers arrived at the apartment building on Pratt Street and heard the fire alarm coming from the building. The officers went to the building and were met by the building manager. The building manager had visible burn injury to himself. He led police into the smoke filled building. They made their way to the 2nd floor were the manager told the officers that a man started the fire and requested that he be arrested.
Hot Springs Fire Department dispatched a full response, arrived quickly, de-smoked the building and made the fire situation safe. Prior to the arrival of police, the manager grabbed a flaming mattress and through it out the 2nd story window, “likely saving the entire” building.
While evacuating the building, officers caught Randy D. Criswell, 44, of Plateau Street in Hot Springs, exiting the room where the fire started. The manager told officers that Mr. Criswell had barricaded himself in a vacant room and he attempted to check on him. He managed to force the door open enough to see the mattress on fire. Mr. Criswell was arrested.
Mr. Criswell was Mirandized and then asked why he started the fire. He told police that he had to get the fire department there faster.
Mr. Criswell was transported to the Garland County Detention Center for processing. He is charged with Felony Arson with Bond set at $2,500.