Published: 5:33 pm, Fri. Jan. 4th, 2019Updated: 5:31 pm
An Artesia man was arrested on arson charges Thursday after a domestic dispute escalated into a fire at a local trailer park.
The Artesia Fire Department was dispatched just before 1 p.m. Thursday to the North Park Trailer Park, 276 N. Rural 13th St., in reference to a structure fire.
Artesia Fire Marshal Brenden Harvey says that upon arrival, firefighters found a mattress on fire in a bedroom inside a trailer home.
Investigation revealed that two individuals had been engaged in a “heated argument” with a third, identified as Juan Morales, 49, of Artesia, after which they briefly left the trailer. When they returned, they observed smoke emanating from Morales’ bedroom.
The trailer sustained smoke and water damage estimated at $1,000; a bed destroyed in the fire was valued at $1,089.
During the course of the ensuing investigation, fire investigators located a butane lighter in a partially-open dresser drawer in the room.
Morales was located walking south on North First Street. According to the criminal complaint, he told Artesia Police Department officers he had lit matches and thrown them onto the bed, then lit a lighter and held it to the bed.
Morales was subsequently arrested on charges of arson ($500-$2,500) and criminal damage to property of a household member (over $1,000). He has yet to be arraigned.