St. Cloud Man Charged With 18 Felonies for 2015 Arson Fire
WAITE PARK -- A St. Cloud man faces 18 felony charges after a 2015 arson fire at the Martin Marietta granite quarry in Waite Park.
Forty-seven-year-old Raymond Curtis is charged with two counts of 1st-degree arson, 15 counts of 2nd-degree arson to property valued at more than $1,000 and one count of unlawful disposal or abandonment of hazardous waste.
According to the complaint filed in Stearns County District Court, a Waite Park police officer spotted smoke coming from inside the gates at the quarry in the early morning hours of April 12, 2015. The officer discovered several fires inside dump trucks, loaders, buildings, and other vehicles.
Records show a large fuel tank was discharging diesel fuel onto the ground and into an open pond, 14 conveyor belts which were cut, storage trailers burned and oil plugs removed from rock crushers causing oil spills.
Several agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives responded to the scene. Officials determined the damage and fires were deliberately caused.
Evidence at the scene included several small plastic Gatorade bottles with flammable liquid and a paper wick, missing padlocks, and blueprints.
Court records show the damage to conveyor belts and the removal of oil plugs would suggest the suspect would have knowledge of the equipment.
Interviews with several employees determined Curtis was a likely suspect because he was a longtime employee who had been fired in recent months. Employees said Curtis had extensive knowledge of the plant, always seemed upset with the company, and made threatening comments about the company.
Authorities say they discovered a small Gatorade bottle in Curtis' garbage which matched the production number and expiration code from a partially burned bottle at the scene of the fire and a padlock with a matching key latch was allegedly found in his SUV.
Records show a witness eventually came forward who said she went with Curtis to buy the Gatorade. She said he emptied the drink and filled the bottles with gasoline and paper or rags to make a wick. Curtis allegedly packed his vehicle the night before with the bottles, a ski mask, dark clothing and something to cut locks. He left the home at midnight and didn't return until the woman called him just before 3:00 a.m.
The woman said Curtis was upset at the company for firing him and wanted revenge. She said he took the blueprints from the rock crusher so the company would have problems putting things back together.
The damage to the vehicles, buildings and other property totaled more than $2.6-million.
There are currently no court dates scheduled in this case.