A Pinal County man, who may have been high on gas fumes, is facing arson charges in connection with the destruction of two homes outside of Casa Grande.
Sunday several residents in the 4400 block of North Palomino Lane, called 911 to report fires at two neighboring homes.
When the first deputy arrived on scene, he found two men having a heated argument in the roadway in front of the two burning houses. One of the two men was Damien Soto, 26, Tim Gaffney, spokesman for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, said in a news release.
The deputy asked the men to wait by his patrol car while he searched the homes to make sure no one was trapped inside. When the deputy returned, Soto had left.
“The other man was still there, now with two other witnesses. The two witnesses told the deputy, they asked Soto if he started the fire and he said, ‘yeah,’ ” Gaffney said.
“Witnesses said Soto was extremely intoxicated and, in fact, had been also sniffing gasoline from a rag before the fires were started,” Gaffney said.
At the scene of the arson, investigators took photos of shoe tread imprints in the dirt. When Soto was found at his sister’s home in Coolidge, he was wearing shoes, which had the same tread design as those left at the scene of the fires, Gaffney said.
Soto was booked into the Pinal County jail and faces two counts of arson.