EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A man believed to be responsible for setting fire to a Las Cruces warehouse has been arrested.
The fire happened on Monday afternoon at Ikards Furniture Warehouse.
Las Cruces police said Billy Gene King, 71, is charged with one felony count of arson for over $20,000.
As we reported, Las Cruces firefighters were dispatched to what was reported to be a rubbish fire at a Downtown warehouse located at 741 W. Las Cruces Ave.
The building was not occupied at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported, police said. Preliminary estimates put damage to the building at more than $20,000. Final damage estimates are yet to be determined.
Las Cruces fire investigators interviewed two Ikards employees who were at the warehouse until about noon on Monday and learned that a man, later identified as King, requested to use a phone to call for a taxi. Fire investigators interviewed the taxi service and learned that a man named Bill requested a ride from the Ikards warehouse to his residence on south Mesquite Street.
Fire investigators located King and interviewed him about the fire. King acknowledged being at the warehouse and lighting a cigarette near the northeast corner of the building. He also acknowledged throwing a burning match on cardboard boxes located on the Northeast, exterior corner of the warehouse. Fire investigators confirmed the fire started at that location and propagated into the building.
Las Cruces fire investigators arrested King Thursday morning and booked into the Doña Ana County Detention Center where he is initially being held without bond.