Homeless man charged with arson for fire at west Athens apartment complex


Tallis Kareem Williams

By Joe Johnson

A homeless man has been charged in connection with an arson fire last week at a westside Athens apartment complex.

According to Athens-Clarke County police Lt. Shaun Barnett, the fire occurred early the morning of Feb. 26 in a laundry room at Flats @ 235 Apartments on Sycamore Drive.

On Monday, a witness called 911 to report the man who started the fire was on the apartment complex property, Barnett said, and officers who made contact with him identified the suspect as 42-year-old Tallis Kareem Williams

“Officers spoke with management of 235 Sycamore Drive, at which point they learned that Williams was homeless and had been sleeping on the property,” Barnett said. “Officers were able to review footage from the property's surveillance camera. The footage showed Williams starting the fire in the laundry room. Based on the video evidence, Williams was placed under arrest for first-degree arson.”

Capt. Nate Moss of the Athens-Clarke County Fire and Emergency Services Department said there was no structure damage, and all that burned was a laundry basket full of clothes and trash, which firefights took outside to soak with water.

Firefighters then set up fans to clear the building of smoke, Moss said.

As of Wednesday morning, Williams was being held without bail at the county jail.

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