Waterloo police get alleged arsonist to confess - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo police get alleged arsonist to confess

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A man is facing arson charges after allegedly starting five buildings on fire early Thursday morning.

The fires were reported within nearly three hours of each other.

While crews were busy fighting fires, Waterloo police were able to arrest Justin Silos, 37, in connection to the arson spree.

More than 25 emergency responders were put to the test in a matter of hours, and not only were firefighters able to contain the fires, but police say they got the alleged arsonist to confess.

Three abandoned homes, one vacant commercial building, and another business were all scorched Thursday morning.

Waterloo Police Chief Dan Trelka says it was a collaborative effort between police and firefighters.

"Just a good job all around. It's amazing this situation was and how quickly it was resolved and came to the conclusion where we're at right now," Chief Trelka said.

Waterloo Police Chief Dan Trelka says an off-duty police officer was on his way home from work when he noticed the fire at Logan and a man walking away from the area.

The officer said he looked suspicious, so he called police and reported it.

Moments later, Silos was arrested at East Fourth Street and taken to the station where he admitted to starting the fires.

"And, if I'm not mistaken, we did find some evidence in the area where he was apprehended," Chief Trelka said.

On top of arson charges, Silos was also cited for public intoxication.

At last check, his Blood Alcohol Concentration has not been released.

Right now, Waterloo Fire Chief Pat Treloar is busy investigating the motive, and he's reviewing the evidence linking him to the arson spree.

"We feel that more than likely, an accelerant was used. If not on all the fires, at least two or three of them. We did work our K-9, and our fire marshal did take fire samples from at least three of the scenes. We'll send those off to the state labs to see what product is on there, if any," Treloar said.

Police say they found evidence linking Silos to the fires in the spot he was arrested.

So, Silos could have been on his way to start even more fires when he was stopped by police.

It's too soon to tell  how much damage was caused, since most of the buildings were abandoned.

According to Chief Trelka, he believes Silos has been living in the area for at least six months.

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