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Firefighters tackle suspected arsonist at Longmont store

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Posted at 1:28 PM, Aug 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-18 15:28:21-04

LONGMONT — Firefighters responded to an alarm at a store in Longmont on Saturday night and arrived to find the suspected arsonist still setting fires inside the building, police said.

Michael Schrodt, 54, was tackled by firefighters and taken out of the building, where police officers arrested him.

Firefighters had been dispatched about 11:30 p.m. to Budget Home Supply on Boston Avenue, where they found heavy smoke inside the building. They began putting out multiple fires in the building when they encountered Schrodt, police said.

"This was a first for us," Longmont fire Chief Jerrod Vanlandingham said in a news release. "You don't typically expect to encounter an arsonist lighting fires at the time you are trying to extinguish them."

Schrodt told a police officer at the scene that the building was going to blow up and that he had lighter fluid poured on his shirt, a police probable cause affidavit said.

Firefighters cleared the building and put out the fire. No one else was in the store at the time of the fire and no one was injured.

The manager of the store estimated the smoke damage in the store to be about $500,000, the affidavit said. Investigators found five different spots in the building where fires had started.

Schrodt was taken to the Boulder Colunty Jail. He faces charges of criminal mischief over $100,000, first-degree arson, second-degree burglary and reckless endangerment, police said.