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10 Displaced By Gail Gardens Fire

11.19.10 Gail Gardens Fire ext 006
11.19.10 Gail Gardens Fire ext 006 (Pehrson)

Gail Garden’s resident, Wilbert Abeyta, was charged Monday with arson in the fire that burned a portion of the two-story senior apartment building in Central Casper.

Casper Fire/EMS Division Chief, Mark Harshman, says their suspicions of arson were confirmed quickly once the security footage was viewed…

“We were fairly confident that we had a person that we believed was heavily involved in the  situation.  And so he was then arrested and charged with first degree arson and taken to jail.”

Fifty-one-year-old, Wilbert Abeyta made his initial appearance in court Monday afternoon in regards to the Saturday morning fire. He was charged with first degree arson and felony property damage.  His bond was set at fifty-thousand dollars.

Harshman says the firefighting operation was able to quickly extinguish the fire. That left responders with a smoke-filled building and a senior population that needed evacuation. Some residents were rescued by ladder. All were moved to either the City Center building or the Parkway Plaza for the night.

11.19 Gail Gardens Fire 002
11.19 Gail Gardens Fire 002 (Pehrson)

Most of the damage, he says, was to the core area of the building.

” the largest extent of damage was in that library and then extending out into an open foyer, if you will, at the top of the stairs, connecting the first floor with the second floor.”

Carry Oliver, Assistant Manager at Gail Gardens says ten residence remain displaced and are staying at the Parkway. One resident was hospitalized following the fire with cardiac problems and remains at Wyoming Medical Center.

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