Feds Take Over Arson Investigation

A recent arson at a Tallahassee apartment complex is still under investigation, but now it's taking an unusual turn. The case has been turned over to federal prosecutors.

Twenty-four-year-old Kevin Walsh is charged with setting an occupied apartment building on fire about three weeks ago.

Within days the case was handed over to the feds. Federal agents will now continue investigating the blaze that Tallahassee firefighters say Kevin Walsh intentionally set. The fire happened at the savannah sound apartments around 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 23. It damaged the 300 building, forcing nearly 20 people from their homes.

Nancy Santiago, who escaped the fire, said, "There was a lot of smoke in our living room. I turned around and I saw an orange-yellow glow coming from our laundry room door through the stats. I opened the door and our whole laundry room was on fire."

Martha Ivey, a Savannah Sound resident, said, "My kids were safe, but it was pretty bad because I didn't think that nothing could happen like that out here. It was pretty surprising. It really made me feel bad."

The local Red Cross put those displaced families up in hotels until they were able to move back into a different apartment building of the complex.

Investigators say the arson targeted a woman who had filed a restraining order against Walsh.

Assistant State Attorney Robin Lotane says federal prosecutors sought an indictment because Walsh maliciously started a fire that put so many people in danger.

Federal guidelines are tougher, and that means Walsh could receive a more severe punishment if convicted.

The federal statute says he can get up to 30 years in prison.


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