CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — An occupant of a Cedar Rapids apartment unit that caught fire Thursday now faces meth and arson charges.
Cedar Rapids police and fire officials were dispatched to 1611 Park Towne Lane NE at 6:36 a.m. Thursday for a kitchen fire in Unit 4. Responding units found smoking coming from the first floor of the three-story building. Firefighters made entry and contained the fire to the kitchen area, though there was smoke damage throughout the unit.
On Friday, police said evidence was found in the unit that suggested the resident, 33-year-old Christopher R. Falls, was manufacturing meth in the apartment.
Based on their investigation, police have charged Falls with manufacturing of meth, first-degree arson, two counts of meth precursors, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Cedar Rapids public safety communications coordinator Greg Buelow said the apartment complex was evacuated for a couple of hours, but the occupants have since been allowed to re-enter.
Due to the smoke damage and the hazardous materials involved in the meth manufacturing, Buelow said the unit will have to be professionally cleaned before it can be reoccupied.
Falls has built up a lengthy rap sheet in the last two years. According to Iowa Courts Online, he has faces charges of possession of a controlled substance, possession of meth precursors, possession of a firearm as a felon and unlawful possession of prescription drugs. Earlier this year, he was charged in Linn County with first-degree arson and possession of meth precursors.