7 vehicles set ablaze in Delta

Every day for about the past two months, Delta resident Jason Doering spent hours pouring love and money into fixing up a 1989 Pontiac Trans Am so he and his fiancee could have a nice ride. He recently got the vehicle running, but his car and six other vehicles in and around The Windsors apartment complex were consumed by up to 20-foot flames after an arsonist torched the vehicles around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday.

“I put everything I had into it. Now it’s toast,” Doering said, inspecting the charred remains around noon Tuesday after authorities removed police tape. “I feel bad for a neighbor who lost his truck. He was in tears. It’s just starting to hit me today.”

Four vehicles at The Windsors parking area, 240 Meeker St., were severely damaged by the blaze. Two other vehicles that were parked behind a home next to the complex’s lot were destroyed by flames. A large delivery truck parked behind a nearby liquor store also was burned. That truck was visible through the apartment complex’s alleyway, parked two blocks to the north.

At 12:30 a.m., Delta’s volunteer firefighters extinguished the fire on the delivery truck at 268 Colorado Highway 92. Two hours later they were called again to extinguish blazes on the other vehicles.

No arson suspect had been arrested as of Tuesday afternoon, Delta Police Department spokeswoman Jamie Head said. However, one person was arrested on suspicion of breaking into other vehicles in the area when the fires occurred, she said. Authorities have not determined whether that person’s actions are connected to the arsons, Head said.

Residents of the three-story apartment complex were frazzled by the fires, which licked the side of the brick facade and seared a parking shelter. No one was injured in any of the fires.

Elizabeth Huff, who lives at the complex, said she was horrified to see explosions in her mother’s borrowed minivan. Insurance was good on the vehicle until midnight Monday, a little more than two hours before it was gutted by fire. Her husband, Danny Huff, lost much of his work equipment and other documents in the van fire. The right side of their other vehicle, a Toyota Solara, had melted because of the fire’s heat. They had just paid $1,300 to have the engine fixed, he said.

Elizabeth Huff said she made her 2-year-old daughter stay inside after firefighters declared it was safe to return indoors after the smoke had been cleared out. Melted car parts, shards from blown out windows and other debris covered the area. A tree above the parking shelter was charred, and fire had spread to one set of the apartment’s stairs.

“This isn’t a joke,” Elizabeth Huff said. “It was so scary. Somebody could have died. Why would somebody want to do this when people are working so hard right now?  Now, all their stuff is lost. I just hope they find out whoever did this.”

Neighbors at the scene said police had dusted some vehicles for fingerprints. Police were taking pictures and examining the scene Tuesday.

Anyone with information about the incident should call the Delta Police Department at 874-7676, or leave an anonymous tip with Delta County CrimeStoppers at 874-8810.


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