Alleged Serial Arsonist's Solution to Mold Problem: Set Building on Fire

For every problem, there's a solution. For a Phoenix man, the solution to a mold problem in a hotel in which he was staying was to set the building on fire, according to court documents obtained by New Times.

About 7:45 a.m. Saturday, 40-year-old Richard Arlin Goodwin called 9-1-1 to report a fire at his hotel at 2501 East Van Buren Street. The problem, however, was that Goodwin was the one who started the fire -- as was obvious to detectives who responded to the blaze and he later admitted.

Responding officers noticed the fire appeared to have been caused by a wooden chair that had been set ablaze and put in a closet. Initially, Goodwin lied to officers and said he had nothing to do with the blaze, but when presented with some of the evidence he changed his tune.

Goodwin told the cops he'd started the fire to draw attention to a mold problem in the hotel caused by a water leak.

While being questioned, Goodwin also copped to previously setting curtains on fire in another room of the same hotel. When initially questioned about that fire, he told police he had nothing to do with it and that it was the work of an unidentified black guy..

Goodwin admitted to police that in yet another incident he tried to set an electrical outlet on fire at his old apartment in Buckeye.

Anyone else noticing a trend?

Police say the reason Saturday's fire didn't spread further is because a hotel employee noticed the smoke and was able to remove the burning chair from the closet before fire crews had arrived.

Goodwin's been charged with one count of arson of an occupied structure for Saturday's blaze. The other fires to which he admitted starting remain under investigation.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
James King
Contact: James King