By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU, Wis. — A 32-year-old Wausau man is facing six criminal charges in connection with a fire that tore through a west side laundromat and flower shop.
Police say Azeez Aleem Hakeem intentionally set the blaze after an argument with the laundromat’s owner. A news release issued shortly after being directed by the owner of Rainbow Coin Laundry to remove personal effects Hakeem had stored within the building. The alleged argument happened on Monday, April 8.
Hours later, between 3 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 9, Hakeem allegedly returned to the laundromat and set fire to the personal property he had been asked to remove from the business. The blaze that followed destroyed both the laundromat, at 210 Clark St., and the adjacent Blossoms & Bows flower shop.
Firefighters spent hours battling the blaze and remained on scene more than 24 hours after the fire started. The building has been reduced to rubble.
Police say Hakeem, of Wausau, admitted starting the blaze. Hakeem now faces felony arson charges along with six counts of bail jumping. The charges were filed Friday, April 19. Bail had already been set April 10 at $50,000 cash.
Hakeem has prior convictions for possession of methamphetamine and carrying a concealed knife, according to online court records.
The financial impact of the loss to both businesses has not yet been specified.
Future court appearances have not yet been set.