Las Vegas Sun

July 22, 2014

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Suspect arrested in arson fire at autism treatment center

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Samuel Powers

An employee of a children’s behavioral assistance center was arrested on Monday for allegedly setting fire to a competing business facility.

Samuel Powers, 24, was arrested on charges of burglary and first-degree arson for allegedly breaking into the Sport-Social facility at 7055 Windy Street, near Warm Springs Road and Las Vegas Boulevard, and setting multiple fires. Powers works for Lovaas Center for Behavior Intervention, which is a competing business with Sport-Social, a facility that teaches social skills to children with autism through sports and art.

An arrest report indicates the following:

A witness arrived for work at a neighboring business about 5:30 a.m. and noticed Powers pushing his car away from Sport-Social. Less than two hours later, the building’s fire alarms were triggered alerting county firefighters of a potential fire.

When firefighters arrived, they noticed Powers exiting through the facility’s broken front door with a five-gallon plastic fuel container. His left hand had second-degree burns.

Inside the building, the sprinklers had already doused the flames, but appeared to have come from multiple points of origin. Fire investigators determined that someone lit combustibles and ignitable liquids at various locations inside the facility causing the fire.

A Metro Police officer arrested Powers.

Powers told police he had seen smoke billowing out of the Sport-Social building while he drove east on Warm Springs. He said he went inside the building to investigate what was on fire.

Powers denied having a fuel container in hand.

The fires left Sport-Social with charred walls and water damage from the sprinkler systems.

The fire is estimated to have caused about $50,000 in damage to the startup facility, and forced it to close for repairs.

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