• Robin Lyons

Three-Alarm Blaze


Fire investigators quickly suspected arson when in the final phase of construction a three-alarm blaze destroyed two buildings with seven, three-story townhomes in each building. The fire required over 100 firefighters, 30 pieces of equipment, and 8 hours to put out the blaze. At the exact moment the project went up in flames, the developer was on a flight to check on the progress. The fire destroyed both buildings.


They started an investigation.


Investigators found key pieces of evidence at the site:

  • A garment soaked in accelerant that also had the project manager’s DNA on it.

  • Video surveillance from a neighbor’s doorbell camera.

Damning evidence surfaced when investigators learned prior to the fire the project manager took out a separate insurance policy on the project for $4 million payable to him.


The project manager may have thought he’d gotten away with the crime, even though the insurance company denied a pay-out on the $4 million insurance policy pending the results of the investigation. The authorities arrested him in the Caribbean.


After learning he faced a sentence of 110 years for the charges, he pleaded guilty to one count of arson. A U.S. Federal judge sentenced him to 10 years in federal prison, three-years of supervised release, and pay more than $2.5 million in restitution to the victims of his crime.


Source: U.S. District Court, the Department of Justice, The Denver Post

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