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Water shoots from an apartment building as Beatrice firefighters spray water from inside the basement on Tuesday. A woman was later arrested for arson following the fire.

A Beatrice woman is accused of starting an apartment fire Tuesday that sent one man to the hospital with burn injuries.

Alesha Acevedo, 35, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree arson following the fire Tuesday morning at an apartment complex at 711 Lincoln St. in Beatrice. 

Beatrice Police Sgt. Jay Murphy said Acevedo was living in the basement apartment unit where the fire started, and that she had had a physical altercation with the owner of the building earlier this week.

“We found out the fire started in her apartment,” Murphy said. “Officers located her outside a block away, sitting there. They started speaking to her and she was pretty evasive as to who she was or where she lived, though officers knew from prior contacts. They decided to bring her in to talk to her further about the fire.”

Murphy said Acevedo denied being in the building when the fire started, though a witness told police they saw her leaving the building. She also had a lighter in her possession at the time, Murphy said.

According to Gage County Court documents, Acevedo initially gave authorities a false name and said she didn't live in the apartment. Court records also indicate her eyebrows appeared to be singed and she smelled of smoke. 

The fire occurred shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday in the basement on the north side of the complex, with reports of windows popping prior to firefighters arriving.

The fire caused an estimated $20,000 in damage to the building, and Murphy said an occupant of another unit in the building was transported to Beatrice Community Hospital and later to Lincoln for treatment of burns.

Murphy said it’s unknown at this time how the fire started, but added that the State Fire Marshal indicated the fire was likely not accidental.

  

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