Man arrested on arson charges from house fire in eastern Lawrence

A Lawrence man was arrested on suspicion of arson in connection with a fire that damaged a house in eastern Lawrence Monday afternoon.

The fire was reported at 12:30 p.m. at 1405 E. 15th St. Firefighters got the blaze out quickly and said it was confined to the first floor and caused an estimated $2,500 in damage. No one was hurt.

The fire was determined to be purposely set, police Sgt. Amy Rhoads said in an email. While Lawrence police were assisting Lawrence Douglas County Fire Medical at the scene, officers were called to a disturbance at the nearby East Lawrence Rec Center, Rhoads said.

The person causing that disturbance was the suspect in the arson, Rhoads said. Police arrested him, and while he was in custody he spit on officers, she said.

Willie J. Richardson, 40, was jailed on suspicion of arson to another person’s dwelling and battery on law enforcement officers, according to jail records. Jail records did not list a street address for Richardson. Rhoads did not share the relationship, if any, between Richardson and the home’s owner.

New charges against him did not appear Tuesday morning in Douglas County District Court records.

1405 E 15th St, Lawrence, KS 66044

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd

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