ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– The arson suspect wanted in the Corona Village condominium fire has turned himself in to authorities.
Investigators believe Martin Castruita Espinoza started a fire that destroyed an entire building of condos and heavily damaged two others.
Espinoza, 20, turned himself in to Adams County Sheriff’s deputies about 11:25 a.m. Friday at the Adams County Jail in Brighton.
The fire destroyed 12 units and damaged six others at the Corona Village Condominiums near 88th and Corona on Tuesday. 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.
Espinoza lived with his mother in a Corona Village condo that burned. Neighbors said Espinoza even stood next to them as they watched the fire tear through their homes.
“Everybody was here, the fire department, the police. I saw that guy somewhere in the background there,” said neighbor Sally Maestas.
Court documents indicate that Espinoza was used to playing with fire while growing up. His mother apparently had thrown him out of the condo. She had placed his belongings alongside a propane tank and firewood outside.
Investigators encountered Espinoza the day of the fire and they noticed he smelled like smoke and lighter fluid. He claimed he had been panhandling outside the Walmart.
Court documents say cameras captured a man wearing similar clothing to Espinoza’s entering the condo building, and 26 minutes later he is seen running away north on Corona. Nine seconds after that the first smoke is seen coming from the building.
Neighbors were pleased to hear of a suspect.
“I’m happy. It’s still crazy to think that somebody set the fire,” neighbor Jacob Jacobson said.
A Facebook page is listed to Martin Spidermann Espinoza with “Schroomi Schroomz” where nicknames normally are displayed. Further down it states, “My mother’s house (expletive) burned down that day and the detectives who had questioned me kept accusing me as being the cause of it.”
The page has numerous photos of Espinoza, who has a prior record including drug related arrests. He denied any involvement in the fire in his posting, which also claims he was “repeatedly harassed by detectives and the division chief who continually said I burned families out of homes.”
He added that the authorities would enjoy hunting him down for the case.
Espinoza is facing several charges including 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.
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