The Feb. 26 fire that claimed the life of a Las Cruces man who resided in an apartment on Idaho Avenue appears to have been set intentionally and is being investigated as a homicide.
The structure fire claimed the life of 67-year-old Allie James Hardeman who lived alone in the second-floor apartment at 808 E. Idaho Ave. Investigators have attempted to contact Hardeman’s next of kin but to no avail.
Shortly after 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, Las Cruces firefighters were dispatched to the Casa Pueblo Apartments at 808 E. Idaho Ave. First-arriving firefighters reported flames coming from a second-floor apartment with one person reportedly still inside.
Firefighters attacked the blaze and made their way to a bedroom where Hardeman was located unconscious. Firefighters and American Medical Response personnel attempted to revive Hardeman but were unsuccessful. Hardeman was transported to Memorial Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. The fire was extinguished and contained to just Hardeman’s apartment. There was heavy fire damage to most of the apartment.
Hardeman’s body was transported to the state medical investigator’s office where smoke inhalation was determined to be the primary cause of his death.
An accelerant detection K-9 from the Mesilla Marshal’s Office ‘hit’ on 12-13 different locations within the apartment where some type of accelerant was possibly used to ignite or spread the fire. Fire investigators took samples from those locations and submitted them to ATF – the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – for analysis.
Las Cruces Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information that helps identify who is responsible for the fire. Anyone with information that can help identify the suspect or suspects is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or send a tip by text message to CRIMES (274637), keyword LCTIPS. The Crime Stoppers number and text messaging services are operational 24 hours a day and you do not have to give your name to collect a reward.
The fire is being investigated by the Las Cruces Fire Department, the Las Cruces Police Department and ATF.