Anis Shorrosh, a Palestinian Arab and author of Christian evangelist books critical of Islam, was arrested early Wednesday morning and accused of attempting to set fire to a plastic recycling bin at the Loma Alta Towers where he lives.
The condo's residents were evacuated when smoke from the smoldering blue plastic container set off alarms at about 10 p.m. Tuesday, authorities said. The large bin contained tax records from Shorrosh's evangelical association, police said.
The bin was only partially melted. But if the fire had intensified and somehow spread to the tower, residents could have been hurt or even killed, said Daphne Police Lt. Jud Beedy. About 50 people were evacuated, he said.
"He endangered a lot of people," Beedy said.
Shorrosh was placed in police custody shortly after officers and firefighters arrived at the condo tower. A warrant had already been issued for Shorrosh's arrest, and he was charged with criminal mischief for allegedly damaging the security system at Loma Alta Towers on Saturday, Beedy said.
Beedy said that, around the time the fire was set Tuesday evening, security cameras downstairs at the tower captured Shorrosh entering and exiting the room where the garbage and recycling containers are kept, Beedy said.
At about 8 a.m. Wednesday, Shorrosh was charged with first-degree attempted arson, Beedy said. He remained at the Baldwin County Corrections Center on Wednesday evening. Bail had been set at $25,000.