Thornton Condo Fire: Suspect Martin Espinoza hit with 55 counts, including arson, attempted murder

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. - Prosecutors say they have filed formal charges of attempted first-degree murder and arson against Martin Castruita Espinoza in the fire that destroyed a Thornton condominium complex last week.

Espinoza is charged with 55 counts, including 10 counts of attempted first-degree murder, 31 counts of first-degree arson, four counts of third-degree assault and 10 counts of crime of violence, a sentencing enhancer.

Flames engulfed the Corona Village Condominium complex at 8760 Corona Street, destroying 18 condos in two buildings on March 6. Two residents and two firefighters were injured in the fire.

Investigators concluded that the fire was intentionally set. Espinoza turned himself in to the Adams County Sheriff's Office on Friday.

Espinoza is set for preliminary hearing in in Adams County Court on April 2 at 2:30 p.m.

"This was a major fire that destroyed one building and much of a second building," said Adams County District Attorney Dave Young. "We are thankful that no one lost their life."

The judge in the case advised Espinoza that the attempted murder charge could bring up to 48 years in prison. The arson charge could carry 24 years and the aggravated cruelty to animals charge could bring three years more.

During coverage of the fire, 7NEWS interviewed Espinoza. He gave a tearful account of his experience escaping the blaze. The video of that interview can be viewed above.

"I just happened to see everyone running toward my mom's house," Espinoza told 7NEWS, "I heard people say look at the smoke and look at the flames. So I turned around. I saw smoke start billowing up. So I ran around the side of the building to see what was happening and that's when I saw all the flames blowing out the staircase."

He goes on to describe running back to a nearby Walmart to call his sister and the subsequent arrival of the fire department. He says the firefighters arrived 15 or 20 minutes after he made that call.

Hours before he was officially named a suspect in the fire, Espinoza posted on his Facebook page, "After the interview, I was asked to give up every piece of clothing I had on so it could be taken as evidence."

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