JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - One man is behind bars for allegedly starting a fire in Jefferson City that gutted an abandoned house at 111 Adams Street early Tuesday morning.
Interim Fire Chief Jason Turner confirmed the blaze and second alarm for ABC 17 News just after 2 a.m.
Smoke could be seen rolling through Olde Town East and the downtown business district early Tuesday morning from the fire, which started shortly before 1 a.m.
Turner said crews at the scene originally thought the building may have been occupied at the time, but did not find anyone inside.
Jefferson City police and the Missouri State Fire Marshal determined that numerous people were squatting in the vacant escape, but were able to escape. Those individuals were able to give investigators a description of a possible suspect or suspects that started the fire.
Officers found the male and female suspects walking near the area. After interviewing them, police say the male suspect started the fire with full knowledge there were squatters in the home.
Officers arrested the David A. Garceau and prosecutors charged him with first-degree arson. He has been taken to the Cole County Jail.