DENVER (CBS4)– The trial for the man accused in the explosion that destroyed homes on Santa Fe Drive between 3rd and 4th Avenues in August 2018 began Tuesday morning. Todd Norman Perkins, 57, was injured in the explosion and hospitalized.
Nine people were hurt, one critically, on Aug. 14, 2018. Perkins was a handyman for the building and lived in a trailer near the property. Investigators identified Perkins as a suspect in the explosion after it happened.
Denver Fire Department spokesman Greg Pixley said that fire investigators found a gas container near the explosion and three places where gas lines were opened.
Investigators also found three different cigarette lighters and a box of matches near where the explosion took place. Pixley said that Perkins was in the basement without permission, opened the gas lines and then poured gasoline in four areas.
The blast leveled much of a four-plex residential building in Denver’s historic Baker Neighborhood.
The explosion also damaged cars on the street and caused damage to a building across the street. Perkins was injured in the blast with significant burns and was placed in a medically-induced coma. After initial treatment he received rehabilitation before he was arrested.
Perkins is facing attempted first-degree murder and first-degree arson. Jury selection began on Tuesday.
Investigators believe the explosion stemmed from a disagreement between Perkins and the building owner.