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Arson Suspect Facing Attempted 1st Degree Murder Charges

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ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)- The search continues for a suspected arsonist who investigators believe started a fire that destroyed an entire building of condos and heavily damaged two others.

Martin Castruita Espinoza (credit: Adams County Sherif's Office)

Martin Castruita Espinoza (credit: Adams County Sherif’s Office)

The massive fire broke out at the Corona Village condominiums on Tuesday. Police are now calling the cause of the fire arson and have identified the suspect as 20-year-old Martin Castruita Espinoza.

“How could anybody do something like that?” said neighbor Sally Maestas.

He was last seen on Wednesday morning in the area of the condos at 88th and Corona less than a block from where the fire started.

“He’s homeless. He doesn’t have a permanent address but this is his last known location,” said Adams County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Paul Gregory.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The fire destroyed 12 units and damaged six others. Hundreds were forced out of their homes.

One three-story building was destroyed and has been condemned. Once the investigation is complete it will be torn down. Two other buildings suffered some damage. Four people were transported to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

Neighbors said Espinoza even stood next to them as they watched the fire tear through their homes.

“Everybody was here, the fire department, police. I saw that guy,” said Maestas.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Espinoza is described as being 5-foot-5 and 135 pounds. Investigators say he frequents the area of Washington Street and 88th Avenue.

Espinoza is wanted for attempted first-degree murder, first-degree arson and aggravated cruelty to animals.

The motive for starting the fire is unknown and investigators are not releasing details of how the fire started.

Every deputy in Adams County is actively searching for Espinoza but investigators believe the more people who are looking for him, the better.

“What happened behind me is a tragedy and he should be brought to justice,” said Gregory.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Espinoza is asked to call Arvada police immediately.

Investigators said a tip led them to Espinoza as a suspect.

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