Michael Bushnell

A Kansas City, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court last week for setting fire to an occupied apartment building at 11th and Benton Boulevard on the morning of Jan. 13, 2021.

Rodney Boyles

Rodney Boyles, 36, was sentenced to eight years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Boyles to pay $12,500 in restitution to an apartment building resident who was intubated for approximately nine days in the hospital while being treated for smoke inhalation injuries she sustained from the fire.

On Feb. 10, 2022, Boyles pleaded guilty to one count of arson, admitting he intentionally set fire to the occupied four-story apartment building at 1102-1104 Benton Blvd. Three occupants of the apartment building sustained serious injuries because of the fire and were transported to the hospital for treatment. The building sustained significant fire damage and was demolished in July 2021.

One of the residents of the apartment building told investigators that Boyles had been staying in one of the apartments with his girlfriend and her four-year-old son.

Boyles told investigators he was under the influence of a controlled substance when he used a cigarette lighter to start the fire in a storage room in the apartment. After starting the fire, Boyles said he quickly left the building with his girlfriend, her son and another female.

Investigators interviewed a number of the building’s residents following the fire, one of whom indicated that she exited her third-floor apartment, recalling the smoke being so thick in the interior stairwell that she could not see her hand in front of her face. She was transported to the hospital, where she was intubated for approximately nine days while being treated for smoke inhalation injuries she sustained from the fire.

Two other residents of the building were forced by heavy smoke to exit their apartment onto a second floor overhang then jump to the ground.