A man covered in soot was arrested for arson in Knoxville, Tennessee, early on Saturday morning after a witness phoned in a tip. "At approximately 7:15am a witness contacted the Knoxville Fire Department and said he saw a man behind the Kwik Pantry Food Mart," Knoxville Police Department Sgt. Kyle Loveday said.
The witness also reported the same man, Rickey Lee Newman, 33, of South Knoxville, near another suspicious fire on Chapman Highway also on Saturday morning. That first fire was at the E-Z In & Out Liquor Store, across the street from the Kwik Pantry Food Mart. KPD officer G.T. George responded with KFD arson investigator Jeff Stooksbury at 7:30am.
"The witness observed smoke coming from the rear of the structure located," the police report stated. "Witness then saw the suspect walking from the rear of the structure to the front of the building. Witness then noticed flames coming from the building."
The Knoxville Fire Department closed the road near the E-Z store to fight the fire which destroyed a structure at the back of the store.
The E-Z fire was extinguished by 7:30 a.m.
The Kwik Pantry is near gas station pumps, but the fire set at store did not spread and caused no damage. Police arrested Newman near the Kwik Pantry "covered in soot," according to the report.
Newman's record shows a first-offence driving under the influence charge in May, a simple possession/casual exchange drug charge in 2002, and several traffic offences.