KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Prairie Village, Kansas, man was convicted for starting a fire at a temporary homeless shelter at a Platte County hotel in July of last year.

43-year-old Travis Betts was found guilty for knowingly setting a fire at the Sure Stay Hotel near the Kansas City International Airport on July 14, 2021.

The jury found that Betts started a fire in the bathtub of one of the hotel rooms.

“This defendant’s actions created a dangerous situation and undermined efforts to help the homeless community find emergency housing,” Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said. “All Platte County residents, regardless of socio-economic status, deserve to live in a place where this sort of criminal behavior is not tolerated.”

Kansas City police and fire arrived on the scene at about 5 p.m. on reports of a disturbance. Police were forced to kick in the door of the bathroom where Betts was blocking the door.

He was detained and firefighters were able to extinguish the fire.

According to records, Betts admitted the being under the influence of methamphetamine.

The hotel was being used as part of the city’s initiative to house the homeless as they saw an increase in homeless population during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fire was deemed to have been set intentionally.

Betts is known to have a criminal history of almost two dozen prior felony convictions.

“This defendant is the textbook example of a dangerous career criminal. Although this fire was quickly extinguished by Kansas City firefighters, it could instead have spread, endangering the lives of many people,” Zahnd said.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 16 and he faces 7 years in prison. Betts’ maximum sentence is increased due to being charged as a prior and persistent offender.