A man who was recently released from prison after serving time on two prior arson charges has been arrested in the Thursday morning fire that destroyed the former Supreme Meadow Gold Ice Cream building.
Police say Richard Snodgrass was arrested late Friday and charged with first-degree arson.
“There is not a lot of information available at this time,” said Dothan police Chief Steve Parrish. “We do know Snodgrass was at the location prior to the fire, and this is not a random burn. This investigation is still ongoing.”
Snodgrass was booked at the Houston County Jail with no bond.
Multiple fire units responded to the scene. Firefighters battled the blaze by using a defensive firefighting method for several hours.
Before the fire, police rousted two vagrants who had been occupying the property, Dothan police Lt. Doug Magill said.
The blaze was controlled by mid afternoon Thursday, and investigators began searching the site, which has been used as a shelter by homeless people. Investigators have not released how or when the fire started.
Supreme Meadow Gold Ice Cream was founded by J.W. Parkman in the early 1900s and served Dothan and surrounding areas, later expanding its milk and ice cream sales to seven other states.
The plant has been vacant since it closed in the 1980s. It was recently bought by the Dothan Downtown Redevelopment Authority for $55,000.