Man Who Set Motel 6 Fire Appears in Justice Court [YouTube]
The man accused of starting a fire in his room at the Motel 6 on East Broadway on Sunday appeared in Missoula Justice Court on Tuesday afternoon.
Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst said Ralph Lockwood, 43, was charged with two felonies, arson and criminal mischief. He appeared via video from the Missoula County Jail.
"Officers responded to the motel on Sunday, February 15th to a report of a fire," Pabst said. "When they got there, the Missoula Fire Department was already on scene. Some of the motel employees had already gone in and extinguished the fire."
Court records indicate that officers saw a bottle of rum on the floor of the motel room and hat the fire had burned part of the mattress and there were indications that an accelerant had been used. Employees of the motel told police when they entered Lockwood's room, he was standing naked at the foot of the bed staring at the fire. They told him to put on his clothes and get outside.
Pabst said starting the fire in the motel room put everyone in the facility at risk.
"Certainly, that's one of the concerns that the statute contemplates in making it a felony when someone is placed in that kind of danger," she said. "We requested bail be set at $20,000. The crime of arson carries a possible penalty of up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000."
Police said the fire was contained to only one room, but that 18 people were staying in the motel at the time, and the fire put them all at risk.
Lockwood's bail was set at $20,000, and he was returned to the Missoula County Jail.