Affidavit: Man burned apartment after getting eviction note

January 2, 2020 GMT

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina man is accused of starting the new year by setting fire to an apartment complex that served him with an eviction notice on New Year’s Eve.

Forrest Lavery West, 46, was arrested Wednesday and charged with second-degree arson, news outlets report. Authorities were alerted to the burning North Charleston apartment complex about an hour into the new year, according to an affidavit.

Witnesses told authorities that West had been screaming about burning the building down and getting its owner some insurance money, it says. Witnesses said West had set fire to a dresser outside the building before lighting a pillow on fire and throwing it into the building.

West told a judge at his Wednesday bond hearing that he dropped a lighter and accidentally started the fire that displaced 16 people, including three children. No injuries were reported. His bond was set at $15,000. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer.