Formal charges not yet filed in arson case

Charges are still pending against a 50-year-old Conway man suspected of setting fire to Building I at Germantown Apartments on Feb. 27.

David Wayne Hartsell, who is currently being held in the county jail in lieu of a $500,000 bond, appeared in Faulkner County Circuit Court on Monday for a status hearing.

Senior Trial Attorney Carol Crews told the judge that prosecutors are still waiting on discovery from certified fire investigators with the National Response Team (NRT) from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Circuit Judge Charles “Ed” Clawson Jr. set a second status hearing for April 10 to determine whether formal charges would be filed against Hartsell.

According to a search warrant affidavit, authorities believe homemade bombs caused the early morning fire at the Germantown Apartment Complex at 955 S. German Lane.

The search warrant noted a detective with the Conway Police Department found two Molotov cocktails in Hartsell’s apartment.

A Molotav Cocktail is a homemade bomb made in a glass bottle and filled with a flammable liquid, usually alcohol or gasoline.

“After the fire was extinguished the fire department located what appeared to be two ‘Molotav Cocktails’ with the wicks still attached in apartment I2,” the affidavit reads.

One bomb was found on the kitchen counter and the other under a sink.

“One cocktail was visible from outside the apartment and appeared to be a large bottle with the wick still attached sitting upon the kitchen counter of I2,” according to the affidavit. “The other cocktail reported was a gasoline can under the sink also with a wick coming out of it.”

Hartsell faces felony arson and first-degree battery charges stemming from the incident, which left two residents injured.

Seventeen residents were displaced after the fire. Authorities estimate the fire caused $1 million in damage.

The case is currently sealed as prosecutors collect evidence.

Police suspect homemade bombs used in apartment fire
2 injured, pet killed in blaze at Conway apartment complex
Police suspect homemade bombs used in apartment fire

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