18-year-old faces arson charge following dryer fires at Rochester apartment complex

An 18-year-old faces a second-degree arson charge after Rochester police said he lit flammable materials and put them into dryers at an apartment complex.

According to Hubbard Broadcasting affiliate KAAL-TV, police and emergency crew members responded to the complex along 16th Avenue early Saturday morning on a report of a dryer fire.

Witnesses told police they saw a person attempting to gain access to vehicles in the complex’s parking lot.

KAAL reports police said a group confronted the person and may have assaulted him. He reportedly said he would return to damage the building.

Later Saturday, another dryer fire was reported at the same complex, according to KAAL. By that point, witnesses in the area said they had seen the person they believed was responsible for the fires and provided a description to police.

KAAL reports officers located the man, identified as 18-year-old Lawrence Johnson, roughly a block away from the complex. Though police said Johnson smelled like smoke, and he admitted to being on the property, he said he did not set the fires. Officers said they found five lighters on Johnson.

He was taken to the Olmsted County Adult Detention Center and faces a second-degree arson charge.