COTTONWOOD -- A 58-year-old homeless man was cited on misdemeanor reckless burning and criminal trespass charges after a warming fire he started caused a building fire on the 1500 block of East Apache Street Monday morning
According to Cottonwood Police, authorities from the Cottonwood Fire and Medical Department were able to quickly put out the fire.
"Officers assisting with the investigation learned a subject sought medical help at a nearby residence for burns to their body," said Cottonwood Police Sgt. Monica Kuhlt in a news release.
Officers learned the man had serious burns on his hands, Kuhlt said.
"(The man) was sleeping between the building and fence at the East Apache Street address where he built a warming fire," she said. "He kept a metal tube of gasoline nearby when it spilled into the fire causing the fire to be out of control and the burns to his hands."
The man was cited and released on misdemeanor reckless burning and criminal trespass charges, according to police. He was later transported to the Maricopa County Burn Center for advanced medical treatment.
Kuhlt said the cost of the damage is still unknown but the owner of the property has been notified.
The man's current status is unknown, Kuhlt said.
Cottonwood has shelter options for the homeless as night temperatures continue to drop.
This week the Verde Valley Homeless Coalition opened its Cold Weather Drop-In Center. It is open from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. and is located on 14 S. Main Street in Cottonwood. Next to the Circle K.
The shelter is open on nights forecasted to drop below 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
Call 928-202-1176 or visit http://www.verdevalleyhomelesscoalition.org for more information and ways to volunteer.
Angie Lozano of Angie’s House also has an overnight shelter open on all nights on 413 N. 15 Street. in Cottonwood.
She said the shelter holds between eight and nine people per night but has made room for more in the past.
The shelter is coed, accepts families and is pet-friendly, she said.
Lozano said those who need a spot should call her at 928-301-2169.