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Man accused of setting apartment fire held on $1M bond

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man accused of setting his girlfriend's Arlington apartment on fire Wednesday morning appeared before a judge Friday morning, charged with four counts of arson to an occupied dwelling.

State fire marshal investigators along with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office arrested Sandy Elmore, 35, on Thursday. He accused of setting a fire in the bedroom of his girlfriend's unit at the Avesta Apartments on Townsend Boulevard. That fire spread, destroying a neighboring apartment and damaging 22 others, causing $750,000 damage.

Red Cross officials were assisting 58 people were displaced by the fire.

Sandy Elmore's first appearance Friday morning.
Sandy Elmore's first appearance Friday morning.

State investigators said Elmore made a threat to burn the apartment as he left after a fight with his girlfriend. After the fire, she said he texted her, saying he set the fire.

The girlfriend called police, who had her set up a meeting with Elmore, where he was arrested just before 5 p.m.

Elmore, how has a history of felony arrests, remains in the Duval County jail on $1 million bond. 

At the hotel where many of the residents whose apartments were damaged are temporarily staying, people are angry to learn the fire was intentional.

Henry Brinson Jr. said he saw Elmore threatening his girlfriend before the arson and isn't shocked at all, because he said the couple argued constantly.

"He told her if he couldn't stay there, she couldn't stay there." Brinson said. "A lot of people lost their belongings. And luckily, nobody got hurt. He deserves it. He got just what he deserves."

That's just one of several threats Brinson and other neighbors in the complex said Elmore made toward his girlfriend. Brinson said he's glad Elmore will get punished for the crime he committed.

"He needs to look at it, if it was his family, if somebody did that, how would he feel? And my thing is if you love a person, you shouldn't just try to do that. Your anger shouldn't make you get that far as burning a place down," Kelsey Parker said.