ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – People in one downtown Albuquerque neighborhood said a firebug is targeting their homes after a string of fires. In an alleyway near the Albuquerque Press Club, some of the fire damage is apparent on a gas meter and a water line for a swamp cooler. It’s just feet away from where people were sleeping.
“I heard people outside in the alley outside the bedroom window,” said David Hayden. A week ago, Hayden woke up early to a commotion outside his home off Gold Avenue and High Street in east downtown. “And it was the fire department putting out fires,” said Hayden.
Hayden saw part of his log home was scorched. A fire also damaged the water line to the swamp cooler and to the gas meter, which had to be removed. “It’s super concerning,” said Hayden. “This place was built like in 1920 out of you know its a log cabin.”
However, this is just some of the damage done. Hayden said he was told there were several fires set in that neighborhood that morning. He points out fires were also set in his neighbor’s yard across the street. Plastic has melted off from some of the trash bins in his alleyway with one bin was completely destroyed. Hayden believes a firebug is responsible.
“He was using some sort of liquid accelerant that he was spraying on the dumpsters and on the house and along fences and then setting that on fire,” said Hayden. Police arrested 49-year-old Sly Jones for the fires. Court documents said neighbors caught him in the act.
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According to documents, Jones doesn’t have a long criminal history but he is accused of setting similar fires to dumpsters a few months ago, which were also in the downtown area. For these neighbors, they want Jones to get the help he needs. “To me, it’s a mental health issue,” said Hayden. “To catch someone doing this obviously implies some mental issues.”
There were other recent fires just west of Hayden’s home but no word yet if investigators believe they are all connected. Jones was released from jail after his arrest in April but after the incident last week, he is being held behind bars.