DOUGLAS — A Douglas man, upset at the world for all the bad things that were happening to him, was arrested for his alleged involvement in a series of early morning fires on New Year’s Day that kept the Douglas Fire Department busy.
Michael Angel Montiel, 32, whose booking photo shows an address of Awendaw, S.C. — but according to a press release from the Douglas Police Department is said to be a Douglas resident — was booked New Year’s morning into the Cochise County Jail for two counts of arson and two counts of criminal damage, both of which are felonies, after turning himself in to law enforcement officials. He is being held on a $10,000 bond.
The series of fires began at 2:14 a.m. when officers with the DPD along with members of the Douglas Fire Department were dispatched to a vehicle fire at the 800 block of H Avenue.
Douglas fire personnel quickly extinguished the fire, at which time officers determined the vehicle appeared to be unoccupied. Officers were unable to locate identifying information for the vehicle at that time, and no one in the immediate vicinity claimed ownership of the car, described as an older model two-door hatchback.
At 2:35 a.m., both DPD and DFD personnel were notified of another fire, which appeared to be a trash fire in the 300 block of Eighth Street. The two agencies arrived to find a trash can fully engulfed. The fire was again quickly extinguished, and no persons of interest were encountered in the immediate vicinity.
At 2:51 a.m., a call for another fire was received, this time at a two-story residence located at 1235 Eighth Street. Firefighters arrived on scene to see flames coming out from both sides of the second floor. With a slight rain falling and an occasional gust of wind, the DFD managed to contain the fire to the residence, which suffered some structural damage.
After the fire was extinguished, officers and firefighters determined that the residence was unoccupied and the DFD cleared the scene after 5 a.m.
The press release states that while emergency personnel were processing the three fires, a male caller later identified as Montiel contacted the DPD, claiming responsibility for the three fires and was wishing to surrender to local authorities. Montiel was taken into custody without incident at a residence on 13th Street.
“Montiel disclosed that he had burned a second trash can which was not located,” the press release states. “Additionally, he disclosed an attempt to burn the Christmas tree on display at Castro Park, but the tree failed to ignite. Montiel was reduced to damaging the lights on the tree. Montiel told investigators that he was trying to make a statement (and) that he was upset at the world for the bad things that were happening to him.”
The DPD is asking for anyone who may have information regarding these incidents — specifically the location of the second trash can that was allegedly burned or information on the owner of the involved vehicle — to contact the DPD at 520-364-COPS (2677).