Man suspected of setting fire to abandoned house in Las Cruces arrested

Mugshot of Joseph Hernandez

Courtesy of the Las Cruces Police Department.

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Las Cruces police arrested a 32-year-old man suspected of setting fire to an abandoned home earlier this month.

Joseph Hernandez is accused of a fourth-degree felony count, negligent arson and one misdemeanor count of criminal trespass. His arrest is connected to a case where an abandoned home on the 900 block of East Bowman Avenue was set on fire on May 7.

Las Cruces firefighters attacked the blaze from outside the residence and were able to determine no one was inside when the fire raged.

Police say they were dispatched to the home two weeks prior when they found Hernandez in the property. He was issued a trespass card at the time.

Fire crews say he arrived shortly after the fire subsided asking if he could retrieve papers from inside the home. He was questioned and authorities learned he had been inside when the blaze began.

Officials with the fire department say he discarded a cigarette, which started the fire. He told them he tried to extinguish the fire but was unable to and fled.

The fire only spread in one room but the home had smoke and water damage. There are no estimates on the damage.

Hernandez was booked into the Doña Ana County Detention Center on Wednesday evening and is being held without bond.

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