Police chief says weekend blaze in Center was arson

Photo by Teresa L. Benns A fire over the weekend totally destroyed the residence of Nicholas Ramirez, Sr. at 521 E. 3rd Street in Center. The fire was the result of arson by the homeowners son.

CENTER — A fire over the weekend totally destroyed the residence of Nicholas Ramirez, Sr. at 521 E. 3rd Street in Center and threatened to spread to nearby homes before it was contained by the Center and Monte Vista Volunteer Fire Departments.

The fire was reported at 10:42 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, and firefighters arrived on scene shortly after the call went out, Center Police Chief Gene Meek reported. Firefighters “did an extremely good job” of containing the blaze to the home and protecting structures close to the blaze, Meek said.

Firetrucks left the scene three to four hours after the blaze began, he estimated.

According to Chief Meek, it was later determined the fire was the result of arson and an arrest was made in the case sometime after midnight Saturday, Feb. 15. Information led Center Police to a nearby residence where they arrested Nicholas Ramirez Jr., the homeowner’s son.

Ramirez was arrested in December for parole violation, second-degree criminal trespass and resisting arrest. He was charged with first degree-arson when arrested Saturday. Meek said Ramirez Jr. confessed to the crime, telling police he set several blankets on fire and placed them throughout the home.

Meek said the younger Ramirez’s narcotics problem contributed to his arrests. It is not known if Ramirez Sr. carried insurance on the home. 


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