PD: Man on meth set fire to signal for help

Posted at 6:24 PM, Jan 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-11 13:19:16-05

Scottsdale fire officials say one man was taken into police custody on Friday night, after they believe he started a fire inside his apartment unit near 71st Street and Roosevelt.

According to court documents, Ben Moreno told officers that he took meth earlier in the week and was afraid people were trying to kill him in his apartment. He didn't have a phone to call for help, so he reportedly used a lighter to light his comforter on fire to signal for help.

Neighbors say he was making threatening comments, shouted that he would burn the place down and broke out his window with a rock. 

About an hour later, fire crews swarmed the area as flames and smoke were pouring out of one of the ground units where the suspect lives. 

The flames were contained to the unit, but the unit directly above may have been damaged from smoke. The two people who live above the ground unit have been displaced, but no injuries were reported. 

Several people who live in the complex say they heard the man yelling and screaming and were shocked that a fire was started.

“It’s just nuts!” said resident Karen Stage. “Just crazy and ballistic! It was just freaky."

Fire officials say they saw the suspect running down the street before he was taken into custody. 

The suspect was taken to the hospital to be evaluated.

Moreno was arrested for arson of an occupied structure, and he faces a felony charge.