FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – The Fernandina Beach Police Department says a man is facing charges including arson after an automotive mechanic shop was destroyed in a fire.
According to a news release, police responded to the building on South 8th Street on July 19 in reference to a structure fire. The building was fully engulfed and investigators said it was later determined that the fire was the result of an arson.
The Police Department said Daniel Rosado, 62, was identified as a person of interest and that he’d been employed at the business and slept in a shed on the property. Investigators determined, according to the report, that Rosado and the business owner had a disagreement earlier in the day and Rosado was fired.
The Police Department said Rosado stated to multiple people in various locations through the day that he intended to “burn the place down.”
“He went berserk,” said employee Larry Robinson. “So he said he was going to burn the place down.”
“He was up here making a scene all afternoon,” said employee Dennis Reiley. “The police were called and they already knew that he had a problem. But when we left and locked up that night, he came back here around eight or so.”
According to an arrest warrant, two minutes after firefighters arrived to battle the blaze, a surveillance camera from inside a gas station recorded Rosado walking to the restroom. Two minutes later, he exited the bathroom wearing only a soaked pair of pants and asked the store clerk for a pair of shoes.
The warrant said the store clerk told police the restroom was soaked with water and had a strong smell of gasoline. Fernandina Beach police say they eventually caught up to Rosado, but say he was intoxicated and complaining of chest pains and that he was taken to the hospital. While at the hospital, a police bodycam recorded Rosado making phone calls to several people. One person he called told police that Rosado called three times and admitted to setting the business on fire.
After the State Attorney’s Office was consulted, an arrest warrant was obtained for Rosado on the charges of second-degree arson, criminal mischief and burglary to a dwelling or structure in excess of $1,000.
Employees said the owner was giving Rosado a place to stay in exchange for working as a mechanic. Damage to the business is estimated to be more than $200,000.
“He cost the guy that was trying to help him out a lot more money than he would have ever been worth,” Reiley said.