DENVER - Arson investigators have arrested a 39-year-old woman who they say drove up onto the Wellington E. Webb municipal office building plaza, got out of her car, then set it on fire.
Anastasia Gordeeva is being held for investigation of second-degree arson.
Witnesses told 7NEWS that Gordeeva claimed she was a victim of domestic violence.
"She said the system failed her, and that she tried to contact people," Jessica Woods told 7NEWS. "I don’t know if that is true, but she was somebody who was just pushed to the edge."
Woods said she was taking pictures near the Webb building when a red car pulled onto the plaza.
"She got out of the car, tossed something onto the seat and then we saw the flames," Woods said.
Cell phone pictures show flames leaping 15 to 20 feet into the air.
Onlookers took a few steps back after hearing some small explosions.
According to an arrest report obtained by 7NEWS, the woman used a cigarette lighter and a blanket in the back seat to the start the fire.
7NEWS has also learned the car is registered to a rental company at the San Antonio, TX airport.
In an amateur video of the car fire posted to YouTube, a woman can be seen admitting she started the fire.
"I lost my money, a victim of domestic violence," she can be heard saying off camera, however 7NEWS cannot independently confirm that claim.
She is listed as a transient in the police report.
Gordeeva told onlookers, "I was kicked out to the streets. My husband thought I jumped from the balcony. I didn’t," she said.
Malik R. Bey is the man who shot the YouTube video.
"I didn't really have any judgment towards her, because I don't know what took place up to that point," said Mr. Bey.
When he asked if she rented the car, Gordeeva replied, “I was at the Sheriff’s Department 40 times… I live on the streets with zero money, totally hungry.”
Just after she said, "I will go to jail," she can be seen being taken into custody by a man in plain clothes. A uniformed security officer can then be seen assisting the man and placing the woman in handcuffs.
Mark Watson with Denver Fire said no one was hurt as a result of the fire.
When asked if Gordeeva intended to damage the Webb building, or if she was just trying to make a statement with the rental car, Watson said, “We don’t know. That’s something we’re looking into.”
The Webb Building is occupied by the City Auditor’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, Public Works, Planning and Development, the Department of Economic Development, and several other agencies, according to the developers, Mile High Development. A nonprofit group owns the building and has leased it to the city for 25 years.
About 1,800 people work in the building, but it was not evacuated. Firefighters had the car fire extinguished in minutes but the car was a total loss.
YouTube video mobile link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRPyf-lV7R0