Delaware Arson Arrests
A Seaford-area man was arrested Monday on attempted murder and arson charges after he allegedly torched a rental home in Delmar, Md., while the tenants were inside sleeping.
Andy Modeste, 42, of the 24000 block of Snug Harbor Drive, was charged by the Maryland State Fire Marshal and Delmar police with four counts of attempted first-degree murder and reckless endangering, said Oliver Alkire, senior deputy fire marshal. Besides arson, other counts included burglary.
The fire was reported about 12:20 a.m. at a two-story home in the 700 block of E. State St.
About 70 firefighters from seven departments from Delaware and Maryland battled the blaze, which took an hour to bring under control, Alkire said.
He said the occupants, who had been renting the property from Modeste, awoke to find the house on fire and were able to escape uninjured.
Eduardo Machado and his family rented the home from Modeste, who authorities said started the fire inside a crawl space in the home.
Investigators are trying to sort out the exact motive, but it appears that an ongoing dispute over the lease agreement was a factor, Alkire said.
Damage was estimated at $40,000 to the home, which Alkire said was equipped with working smoke detectors.
Modeste is being held in the Wicomico County Detention Center where he awaits a bond review. He faces up to life in prison and more than $90,000 in fines if convicted.