ATLANTA - More details about the man accused of starting the fire under the Interstate 85 overpass which led to its eventual collapse.
Basil Eleby, 39, is being charged with arson and currently is being held in the Fulton County Jail.
Eleby frequented the area of Piedmont Road near I-85. Those who knew him said he slept in a car, did odd jobs and was trusted by nearby businessmen. Some described him as a nice and lovely guy.
Authorities have accused Eleby of setting one of the most notorious fires Atlanta has seen in a long time, not only burning down a section of Interstate 85, but inconveniencing thousands of drivers and businesses for weeks.
But FOX 5 News found people like Anthem Automotive Service Manager David Walker who actually knew the homeless man.
“I could trust him with my kids. I know that much,” said Walker.
Walker said he first met Eleby three years ago when he came into the automotive shop looking for work. The two developed an admiration for each other. Walker said he set the ground rules early.
“At one point he came to me and asked for a couple of bucks for some food. And I said look if you're gonna buy a beer with it just tell me and I'll buy you a beer. If you want food, I'll buy you food. Just be honest with me,” said Walker.
The '98 Mercedes where associates said Basil slept at night was in a lot owned by Menge Gizachew and even let Elerby use his business bathroom to wash up on a regular basis.
Both men said they do not know about Eleby's guilt or innocence, but they believe the street smart homeless man who frequently talked about his mother, should not be the only one held responsible for the inferno that led to the bridge collapse.
Eleby will have a superior court appearance next week.