Public Safety

Man arrested in connection with house fire in Surprise

Independent Newsmedia
Posted 7/23/20

A 24-year-old man is suspected of starting a fire at a home in Surprise, according to court documents.

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Public Safety

Man arrested in connection with house fire in Surprise

Posted

A 24-year-old man is suspected of starting a fire at a home in Surprise, according to court documents.

No injuries were reported, Surprise fire officials stated.

The incident happened around 3 p.m. Wednesday near Nash Street and Santa Fe Drive.

According to court documents, a Surprise police sergeant was in the area of Cumbie Lane and Cottonwood Street when he saw a large cloud of smoke. Around the same time, calls came into dispatch of a large fire near Nash and Santa Fe.

The sergeant arrived at the house and found the majority of the fire was in the back of the home on a back porch area. The sergeant and a bystander knocked on the front of the door, and a woman came running out, records state.

The Surprise Fire-Medical Department said the fire started as a vehicle fire that extended to the house. Around 25 firefighters helped battle the fire in 106 degree weather.

A witness said she saw a male leaving the area with two gas cans and that he had fled in a vehicle.

The female occupant of the house told police she was in her home with her son when they heard a loud bang from what they thought was the roof. However, she checked her surveillance system and found a large plume of smoke coming from her back porch. She then grabbed her pets and exited.

She and her boyfriend — who had just returned home from work — said they didn’t know who would set their home on fire. However, when police gave them a suspect description, the man said it was his son, records state. The man told police he and his son had been having problems lately.

Police tracked the man’s son to a residence in Glendale, where he was taken into custody. Police noted that he appeared highly intoxicated.

According to court documents, he was identified as Colten A. Dawe, 24. He denied being in Surprise or starting the fire but admitted that he and his father weren’t getting along, records state.

Police searched his vehicle and noticed a strong odor of gasoline. They also found a plastic gas can lid, records state.

He was booked into jail in lieu of $10,000 bond on one count of arson of an occupied structure. He is due in court July 29 and 31.

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