Prosecutors have charged a 31-year-old man with first-degree arson, a class B felony, after he allegedly set a fire at a Pleasant Hill apartment complex.
The fire occurred at a four-plex housing unit located at 1208 Broadway, at the Broadway Village Apartments at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 19.
Glenn Lawrence, who was injured in the blaze, told police that he sprayed hairspray on himself, then caught himself on fire using a Bic lighter in his ex-girlfriend’s residence.
Upon arrival to the scene, Pleasant Hill police made contact with Lawrence, who had suffered burns as a result of the fire.
Lawrence admitted to spraying himself and his ex-girlfriend’s bed with hairspray and then igniting the accelerant with a lighter.
The suspect later told police that he removed his clothing while it was burning because it became too painful to keep the burning clothes on his body.
According to the probable cause statement, initial investigation of the fire scene by investigators indicated that the cause the blaze was consistent with both the former girlfriend’s and Lawrence’s report that the fire had started on the bed with an accelerant.
Police later made contact with Lawrence at the hospital about the fire investigation.
Lawrence told police that he was trying to commit suicide by setting himself on fire. After spraying hairspray on himself, Lawrence said he tried to light himself several times after his former girlfriend put the fire out on him each time.
He said his former girlfriend was running in and out of the bedroom to put out the fire each time.
Lawrence then decided to barricade himself into the bedroom and then caught himself on fire again while laying on the bed.
When his clothes began to burn, Lawrence said he took off all of his clothing and stripped down to his boxers. Lawrence said the hairspray then exploded and blew the bedroom door off.
Lawrence then told police he did not think about the safety of other people in the complex until after the incident.
Following the blaze, Lawrence and the woman were transported to seperate area hospitals for their injuries.
The female had minor injuries from smoke inhalation.
The housing unit received smoke and fire damage.
The Pleasant Hill Fire District received mutual aid assistance from Lake Lotawana, South Metro, Harrisonville, and NE Cass.