Feeling “depressed,’’ Nathan Counts poured gasoline in the Coral Springs apartment he shared with his fiancé, used a cigarette lighter to ignite a blaze and ran, according to police.
Nearly two weeks after the fire ripped through their second-floor unit and spread throughout the two buildings, damaging 28 units, and killing three cats, the Coral Spring Police Department arrested Counts on 59 charges including arson and animal cruelty.
Counts, 39, was being held in Broward’s main jail on a $1,650,000 bond.
A fire broke out at the Ramblewood East Condo complex, 4119 NW 88th Ave., on Feb. 12. Residents in two buildings were forced to evacuate after the fire spread.
According to an arrest report, Counts later told police he was upset over “an ongoing child custody dispute.”
“That morning he purchased a gasoline container and filled it with gasoline that he purchased also that same morning,” an officer wrote in the report. “He stated that he poured the gasoline in the middle of his living room, underneath and on top of the love seat. In addition, he poured gasoline inside of his bedroom, on the top of his mattress. Counts then ignited the gasoline.”
Counts then ran out of the apartment and locked the door behind him, police said.
Police said the fire caused “varying degrees of fire, heat and water damage, which as a result caused the residents in both buildings to be displaced.”
No one was injured.
“In addition, Counts’ condo was knowingly occupied by three pet cats which were tortured by the heat and smoke until their demise,” an officer wrote in the report.
Police say they found the gas container and a cigarette lighter in the living room.
The fire, police say, caused between $3.5 and $4 million in damages.