Naomi Almodovar makes first court appearance, accused of starting fire at Copper Terrace Apartments

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. - Bond was set Monday at $1 million for the woman accused of starting a fire at the Copper Terrace Apartments in June that injured eight people and destroyed four units.

Naomi Almodovar, 23, was arrested Friday and charged with criminal attempt first-degree murder, first-degree arson and domestic violence, according to the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office.

In court Monday, prosecutors said they plan to charge Almodovar with more than 40 counts of attempted murder.

Investigators said the fire on June 23 began in a stairwell in building G of the apartment complex at around 1 a.m. That building is located on South Dayton Street near Arapahoe Road in Centennial.

Within a day of the fire, Undersheriff Louie Perea said investigators found evidence suggesting that arson was a strong possibility. The evidence included signals from arson dogs trained to smell chemical accelerants.

The fire trapped some residents forcing them to jump or rappel off balconies using bed sheets they tied together.

"I wrapped my hand with a towel, grabbed a candle and broke the window," Chris Johnson said. "Someone brought out a mattress and I jumped from the third story onto the mattress."

One neighbor backed a pickup truck up to the burning building and residents threw mattresses in the bed of the truck to help people who wanted to jump.

"I didn't know if we were going to make it out in time," said Lenise Ruff, who suffered second-degree burns on her hands and jumped out of her third-story window with her roommate, Marilyn Kruc.

Kruc underwent surgery for two broken vertebrae, said Ruff, and is expected to make a full recovery.

Almodovar was transported to the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office Detention Facility on Friday and is being held without bond. Deputies said additional charges against her are pending.

Investigators said they are working leads in the case and it is still an active investigation. Citizens with additional information were encouraged to contact the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office at 303-795-4711. 

Investigators are specifically requesting anyone with personal video captured on cell phones or other media devices to contact the Sheriff's Office.

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