Grand Junction police have arrested a man after a fire in the Laurel House apartments led to at least three units in the building being complete losses.
Cameron Eskelsen, 20, of Grand Junction was arrested Jan. 7 on charges of arson, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and possession of drug paraphernalia after firefighters responded to a report of a fire in his unit in the Laurel House apartments.
According to police, firefighters found about two inches of standing water in the apartment when they entered, as well as burnt clothing items in a pile on the bedroom floor and ashes in the bathtub.
The affidavit states fire department personnel said they believed an accelerant had been used on the pile of clothes.
Also, according to police, one of the smoke alarms in the unit had been disabled. Police said Eskelsen told them he disabled it because it would go off while he was cooking.
The fire was deemed to be suspicious, according to police.
Eskelsen had left the scene when fire and EMS personnel arrived, according to police, and was arrested when he returned.
According to police, the building’s fire suppression sprinkler system had activated because of the fire, and water had flooded into all three levels of the building, as well as the lobby.
The affidavit states the Laurel House has 34 units and 40 residents, who had to evacuate because of the fire. The affidavit also states a clean-up company estimated at least three apartments were likely complete losses because of the flooding caused by the sprinkler system, and the property damage to the building is over $20,000.
“The damage caused by the flooding in the building was extensive,” the arrest affidavit stated.
The affidavit stated Eskelsen told police he was coming down from a methamphetamine high and burned some pieces of paper with a lighter because he was bored.
Eskelsen denied knowing how the bedroom fire started, according to police.
Eskelsen told police he saw smoke in the bedroom and took the fire extinguisher from the apartment hallway and sprayed it on the burning clothes, according to the affidavit.
According to the affidavit, video shows Eskelsen taking the fire extinguisher from the hallway into his apartment, however the affidavit also states fire department personnel believed the fire extinguisher had not been used.