Chair fire leads to arson arrest

A Winchester man is facing a dozen charges including arson after allegedly starting a fire at an apartment building Friday afternoon.

Roman D. Smith, 39, of 701 W. Lexington Ave., Apt. 2, allegedly threatened to assault two different people in front of police officers during the investigation as well, according to court documents.

The fire started on a chair and damaged an upstairs porch at the residence. The chair, though, was located next to a gas grill with a propane tank attached.

Winchester Fire-EMS Battalion Chief Chris Whiteley said the fire damaged the chair, an awning and part of a window to the building.

According to police, Smith told a number of stories about what happened, from not being outside at all to later admitting he was outside where the fire started. His final statement was he was outside and threw a cigarette down, which may have started the fire. He denied throwing the cigarette on the chair, he said.

While officers were conducting their investigation at the scene, Smith allegedly threatened twice to assault a witness while they were speaking with officers. At one point, Smith said he would “bust the witness in the mouth if the witness did not stop lying,” according to the arrest citation.

Officers found eight other people in the building who were at risk of injury if the fire had spread.

Smith was arrested and charged with two counts of terroristic threatening, one count of tampering with a witness, eight counts of first-degree wanton endangerment and one count of first-degree arson. Smith is being held in the Clark County Detention Center on a $100,000 cash bond.