A man was arrested on arson charges after he allegedly set his own home on fire, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office said. Clay Alan Cline, 54, was arrested Friday. Investigators say Cline started the house fire on Kachina Drive on Wednesday night.
Cline is charged with first-degree Arson, a Class 3 felony. He was booked into the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center with bond set at $10,000.
Fire trucks on Kachina Drive are an all-too-familiar sight for neighbors.
The string of fires started in May 2011. The home next to Cline's burned down. After that, a modular home went up on the property. A neighbor said a day after the home was completed, it went up in flames. It caught fire a second time. After that, there was a shed fire on the property. Crews were also called to the property to put out a brush fire.
Wednesday night's home destroyed Cline's house.
The news of an arrest made in the fire investigation came as a relief for some neighbors. Eric Huls has wanted answers behind the fires since 2011.
The news of an arrest in the fire investigation came as a relief for some neighbors.
“Chances are the person that was behind this fire was behind the other fires so it's definitely a big relief in the neighborhood knowing that the person behind this is caught,” said Huls.
Cline's neighbor across the street insists he is innocent. He said an unattended candle is to blame for the fire, not Cline. He said Cline was devastated by the fire and lost many possessions very dear to him in the flames.
Chet Henderson has known Cline for 20 years. He described Cline as a nice guy and he couldn't imagine him lighting his house on fire.
“I hope Clay didn't do this one so let's just hope they find out who did and be on with it,” said Chetley Henderson.
He said he and many neighbors want closure. He said its a nice and quiet neighborhood. The series of fires has worried the neighborhood.
“There's the concern with people in neighborhoods saying, "do we need to sell our homes and get out of here now?,” Henderson.
EPCSO is investigating the other fires on Kachina Drive that have been reported over the past several months.