Resident charged with starting apartment fire

Robert Lee Utley

August 10, 2011 9:58:22 AM PDT
Authorities have arrested a Raleigh a man after he allegedly started a fire that severely damaged his apartment building and displaced several of his neighbors.Robert Lee Utley, Jr. of 1319 Kent Road was arrested Monday night and charged with first-degree arson.

The charge stems from a fire at the Leaves and Trees apartment complex on Kent Road Friday morning.

According to arrest warrants, Utley may have been trying to burn down his neighbor's apartment, following an argument. Utley lived in Apartment E and was allegedly trying to burn down Apartment F, his next door neighbor's apartment.

The blaze quickly spread, forcing over a dozen people to flee their homes. Flames consumed half the units of the eight-unit building, while the other four suffered extensive smoke and water damage.

One firefighter and one resident were taken to the hospital for minor injuries.

Authorities say evidence showed that the fire originated in a front corner apartment.

Utley, 37, is currently in jail under a $2 million bond.

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