MISHAWAKA — A man has been charged with two counts of arson after allegedly starting a fire early Monday morning at the Hickory Village Apartments.
Anthony D. Ware, 25, was charged with two Level 4 felony counts of arson and one misdemeanor count of false identifying.
Fire crews arrived to the apartments on Hickory Road around 4:30 a.m. to find a “fully engulfed building,” according to court documents. As police arrived, they saw a PT Cruiser attempt to leave the scene, running over a fire hose. The car was unable to move without running over the fire hose again and remained at the scene.
Multiple people were on balconies unable to get out of their apartments.
According to police, a woman who lived in the building said she saw a man outside her apartment and that he knocked on her door around 4 a.m., but she didn’t answer. About five minutes later, she heard a “whooshing” noise and found the hallway outside her apartment in flames.
The woman, her toddler son and grandmother, were in the second floor apartment at the time and Mishawaka Police had to lower them off their balcony to escape the fire.
The woman told police she thought the man, later identified as Ware, was her roommate’s boyfriend. The woman later walked by Ware while he was being detained and told police he was the same person she had seen outside her apartment.
Police said they spoke with another resident who said a man with a similar description had knocked on his door multiple times throughout the night looking for a woman.
When detained after attempting to leave the scene, Ware told police he picked up his younger cousin and then later went to the apartment complex to pick up his girlfriend, but he wasn’t sure which apartment she lived in. The juvenile with him told police Ware never left the car or went into any apartment building.
Police obtained a search warrant for Ware’s vehicle, which contained an antifreeze bottle that smelled of gasoline, according to court documents. There was also a strong odor of gasoline in the apartment building and “noted burn patterns” starting at each door continuing to the exit.