Thornton

Arson suspect has first court appearance

20-year-old man allegedly caused fire that destroyed condo building

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The man police say set the three-alarm that completely destroyed a condo building at 8760 Corona St. in unincorporated Adams County March 4 was in court yesterday to hear the formal charges against him.

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday, March 7, that 20-year-old Martin Castruita Espinoza was wanted for criminal attempt first-degree murder, first-degree arson and aggravated cruelty to animals.

Formal charges were filed and the court appearance occurred after the Northglenn-Thornton Sentinel’s press time.

“He turned himself in on Friday the 7th at the Adams County Jail,” Sgt. Paul Gregory with the Sheriff’s Office said.

Firefighters got the call at 1:45 p.m. Tuesday, March 4, to the Corona Village Condominiums located behind the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market at 88th and Washington. Six agencies helped to extinguish the blaze, including North Washington Fire District, Southwest Adams County Fire District, City of Thornton, City of Westminster, North Metro Fire Rescue and Federal Heights Fire Department.

The suspect was reported to have stayed on the scene of the fire to talk to the media while the firefighters battled the blaze.

The initial building where the fire started was a total loss with all 12 condos destroyed. There was a second building damaged as well. There were no serious injuries reported but three firefighters did suffer minor injuries, reported Sandy Danne with the North Washington district.

There was at least one animal killed in the fire, but that number may change, Gregory said.

“As of Thursday (March 6), there were still residents missing some of their cats,” he said.

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