Man threatens self and girlfriend by setting fire to apartment

A man set fire to this apartment complex on Monday, threatening his life and the life of his girlfriend. Police eventually captured the man and took him to a psychiatric center for evaluation.

Update: Tuesday, June 21 at 3:40 p.m.:

Prosecutors say they are still investigating whether to file charges against Nicholas Gibbs. Police arrested him for arson, but so far he does not face any charges for the Monday incident at his condo in Columbia.

After his arrest, Gibbs was transfered to the Missouri Psychiatric Center in Columbia on Monday. He has not been booked into the Boone County Jail.

Update: Tuesday, June 21 at 11:55 a.m.:

Fire investigators believe a condominium fire on Monday was intentionally set and started in the master bedroom.

Investigators said they found a disposable lighter in the room. They believe materials like bedding and clothing were used to start the fire.

According to the Columbia Fire Department, fire investigators believe Nicholas Gibbs used furniture to barricade himself in the master bedroom and then started the fire. They said Gibbs escaped the condo by jumping off a small balcony.

Fire investigators have ruled out the possibility that this was an accidental fire.

Damage to the condo is estimated at $35,000-40,000. The unit below Gibbs TM condo has some water damage. Also, four of the eight units have smoke damage. The damage estimates to those units are not known.

Update: June 20, 2011 Monday 4:48 p.m.:

Authorities said they arrested a Columbia man after he threatened himself, his girlfriend and police officers and tried to burn down an apartment building.

Nicholas Gibbs, 29, could face a charge of arson and possibly other charges.

When police took Gibbs into custody, they had to strap him to a gurney because they were having problems controlling him in the back of a squad car. Authorities said Gibbs threatened to kill himself after having an argument with his girlfriend. When police first arrived at the scene, Gibbs told officers he was armed with AK-47 TMs and explosive devices and had booby trapped the doors to the residence. Gibbs also told officers he had started a fire inside the apartment building. That TMs when Gibbs was taken into custody. Firefighters quickly had the flames under control and never found any booby traps.

Columbia Fire Department Battalion Chief Steve Sapp said, We have not found anything like that. We TMve been through the apartment. We TMve done primary and secondary searches to make sure that everybody is accounted for, including humans and animals.

Authorities evacuated the residents of Building 12 at Columbia TMs Park De Ville Place Apartment Complex because of the fire. No one was hurt.

Gibb TMs girlfriend TMs sister called police by sneaking out the apartment and calling 911. Authorities say it was never a hostage situation.

Columbia Police Sgt. Jill Wieneke said, Everybody came out on their own there was no negotiation that had to go on with him. The original female caller, she was able to leave the residence on her own. The girlfriend came to door. She was restricted from coming to the door and speaking with us. She came right out.

Authorities took Gibbs to a Columbia psychiatric center for evaluation before they made their arrest.

Investigators have not determined a cause for the fire or an amount of damage.

They do know the fire started in the master bedroom of the apartment.

Update: June 20, 2011 Monday 1:56 p.m.:

Columbia police say Nicholas Gibbs, 29, was arrested for arson with the possibility of additional charges being added later today.

Original Story:

A suicidal man threatened himself and his girlfriend by setting fire to an apartment on Monday at Park DeVille Place apartment complex in Columbia.When police took the man into custody, they had to strap him to a gurney because they were having problems with him in the back of the squad car. Investigators believe he set the apartment on fire and said the man told authorities he had booby trapped the apartment. Police have not confirmed that there were any problems at the apartment other than the fire.Fire on scene and still putting out hot spots. Police are on scene as well.Police got the call for help from the girlfriend's sister. Police said it was never a hostage situation, though.The unnamed suspect was taken to a psychiatric center in Columbia for evaluation.