CHARLOTTE — The resident of a Charlotte care center has been charged with arson for allegedly setting fire to the facility, sending the other 87 residents fleeing for safety.

Edward Wilson Meyers, 47, was charged with first-degree arson after Clinton County Sheriff’s investigators said they determined he set the fire on the third floor of the Community Care facility in Charlotte at about 4:13 a.m. Saturday.

Fire Chief Pat Dunlavey said flames were shooting out of two windows on the third floor of the building when firefighters arrived. It took about 20 minutes to extinguish the flames, but firefighters remained at the center for four hours to make sure flames didn’t redevelop.

Two rooms on the third floor where the fire started were gutted and the rest of the building sustained smoke damage. Damage was estimated at about $200,000.

The facility is run by Community Care Inc., a private, nonprofit agency established in 1988 by the Clinton County Board of Supervisors to oversee and run the facility. Renovation and an addition in 1974 allowed for a 194-bed licensure. Individuals receiving services at the facility range in age from 21 to 93 and have a variety of special needs.

Northeast Community Schools provided two school buses to transport the residents from the fire scene to the Charlotte Area Activity Center early Saturday morning. The local American Red Cross chapter assisted in relocating the residents, said Dave Frett, a Red Cross spokesman. He said 47 residents were taken to a Clinton motel and 40 others were taken to a care facility in Jackson County, which was closed two years ago but still has equipment and beds.

Officials at the Charlotte care facility said they were waiting for an Iowa fire marshal investigator to look over the damage before determining how soon cleanup and a return to the facility could take place.

This Week's Circulars