On Tuesday, 4/19/2022, a structure fire was reported in the 200 block of North Oates Street. This is the second time within a month this building has caught fire. The first fire occurred on 3/28/2022. The property is vacant and currently being remolded. At the time of the fire Tuesday, officers in the area arrived on scene quickly and located a suspicious person on the property covered in soot. Dothan Fire Department personnel arrived and extinguished the blaze. The individual detained was identified as 33 year-old Joe Edward Thomas. Thomas has had two previous encounters with police at this property and had been given a trespass warning on 01/26/2022, and then arrested for trespassing on 04/08/2022. Thomas provided his address as homeless.
The investigation into Tuesday’s fire revealed Thomas was in possession of copper that had been removed from an air-conditioning unit in the room where the fire was located and observed leaving the room at the time the fire started by a witness to the events. Thomas was arrested and charged with Arson Second Degree for Tuesday’s fire. His bond was set at $30,000.00. A specific motive for setting the fire is currently unknown.