APD: Man started City Hall, transit center fires
An alleged arsonist is facing charges in fires earlier this week which forced an evacuation of City Hall and damaged bathrooms at the nearby Downtown Transit Center.
Police spokesman MJ Thim said Friday that Rigoberto Walker, 26, was charged with felony arson in connection with the calls, which occurred Wednesday morning.
Jodie Hettrick, the Anchorage Fire Department’s deputy chief, said two crews initially responded at about 7:55 a.m. Wednesday to minor fires at City Hall and the adjacent Downtown Transit Center. A security guard at City Hall reported “a little bit of flame” coming out of the time clock in the employee lobby, but called AFD back to say he had “personally extinguished” the fire.
Municipal ombudsman Darrel Hess posted a video of an evacuation alarm and a photo of the damaged time clock on his Facebook page. He said that employees briefly had to leave the building.
“We evacuated, but it was about 7:50 a.m., so most people were not at work yet,” Hess said on Facebook. “Apparently someone tried to set the time clock on fire.”
Signs posted at the transit center said the restrooms were "permanently closed" after the fire.
An Alaska inmate database showed Walker was in custody Friday evening at the Anchorage Jail.
Scott Jensen contributed information to this story.
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