Photo: Stearns County
Photo: Stearns County
October 11, 2018 08:21 PM
A 47-year-old St. Cloud man is facing 17 arson charges and one charge of unlawful disposal or abandonment of hazardous waste in connection to a 2015 fire that caused several million dollars in damage at a Waite Park granite quarry.
Court records show Raymond James Curtis, 47, has been charged with two counts of first-degree arson, 15 counts of second-degree arson and one count of hazardous waste-unlawful disposal or abandonment in Stearns County.
Each charge is a felony.
Curtis was arrested Tuesday and booked into Stearns County Jail. A release from Waite Park police said he is a former employee at Martin Marietta, the company at whose quarry the fire occurred on April 12, 2015.
No one was injured in the fire. The release said evidence recovered from the scene indicated the fire was intentionally set.
The criminal complaint said an inspection of the diesel fuel tank showed it was spilling fuel. The nozzles on two fuel hoses were reportedly locked in the on position, resulting in over 2,000 gallons of fuel spilling onto the ground and into an open pond. It was also discovered that the wires on the yellow beacon light for the diesel tank that rotates when employees are fueling had been severed, and that 14 large belts for the conveyor system on the secondary rock crusher had been cut.
Plugs had allegedly been removed from the reservoir tanks on the rock crushers, causing all the oil to drain out.
Investigators also determined that fires had been intentionally started in the cabs of 14 different vehicles.
The complaint states that after talking to several employees, it was determined that Curtis, who had been fired in October 2014, was the likely suspect. Other employees reported he had made threatening comments about the company in the past and had extensive knowledge of the plant.
Authorities said a garbage pull conducted at his residence turned up a 12-ounce berry flavored Gatorade bottle - the production number and expiration code matching a partially-burned bottle located in the electrical box in the control shack at the quarry. A search warrant executed at his residence also allegedly turned up the same type of padlock used to secure the control shack at the Martin Marietta plant.
His cell phone also reportedly received a call at around the same time the fire was called in from a cell tower that covers the plant. The individual who called later is alleged to have told authorities she went with Curtis to a grocery store to buy the Gatorade bottles, which he emptied and filled with gasoline.
She also said when he returned home early that morning, he had the blue prints from Martin Marietta with him, and that he told her "he took them so they would have problems putting things back together." She said Curtis was upset with the company for firing him and wanted revenge.
Updated: October 11, 2018 08:21 PM
Created: October 11, 2018 04:45 PM
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