Car fire

A car was destroyed in a suspected arson fire Tuesday morning at 12th Avenue North and North 30th Street.

SAM WILSON, Gazette Staff

A man accused of setting a car on fire near St. Vincent Healthcare on Monday did it so he could return to jail, charging documents say. He had been out of custody for two and a half weeks after being arrested and charged with setting fire to his mother’s home.

William Arnold Miller, 58, appeared in Yellowstone County Justice Court on Wednesday on one felony count of arson. Miller turned himself in to authorities at the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office after starting the fire earlier this week and is being held on $75,000 bond.

In a statement to police, Miller said he drove to the Holiday Gas Station on North 27th Street and Sixth Avenue North and filled a Powerade bottle with gasoline. He then drove west, found a dark-colored car near St. Vincent Healthcare on 12th Avenue North, poured gasoline on the windshield, lit a match and ignited the vehicle, according to charging documents.

No one was in the car at the time of the fire, and no injuries were reported, according to a press release from the Fire Department. Reported at about 5:30 a.m., the fire caused an estimated $15,000 in damage.

Both the car and its contents were insured, the release stated.

In the house fire incident from late May, court documents say Miller told a 911 operator: "I did something bad. I set my house on fire."

No one was home when firefighters responded to the house fire on Cambridge Drive, and Miller later turned himself in, court documents say. He was charged in that incident with felony arson.

As fire investigators determined that the house fire was confined to a closet, Miller called to turn himself over to the police, charges state. He told officers that he lit a towel aflame and removed the smoke detector, the documents say.

He then called 911 because he changed his mind about burning down the house, documents state. His mother owns the house.

Initially Miller was held in the earlier incident on $5,000 bond but later requested and was granted release on his own recognizance. He was released from jail on Aug. 4.


Justice Reporter

Justice reporter for the Billings Gazette.