NCC Crime

An investigation into a suspected arson in Amboy continues as two suspects in a fire earlier this October were released on charges as more information is needed.

Valerie and Adam Gardner, 65 and 23, were initially charged with first-degree arson following an Oct. 12 fire at their residence off of Northeast Cedar Creek Road in Amboy. Court documents from Oct. 16 show that “further investigation is necessary” into the incident and both had bail exonerated.

The Clark County Fire Marshal’s Office confirmed Oct. 21 that an investigation into the fire that led to the initial arrest of both Gardners was ongoing.

According to probable cause affidavits for both Gardners’ arrest a responding officer was dispatched to the 22300 block of Northeast Cedar Creek Road, recognizing that a previous fire was investigated at the same residence Aug. 1. The officer recalled in the August fire’s report a wall outlet suspected to have started the fire tested positive for ignitable fluid and didn’t appear to be damaged otherwise.

During that August investigation neighbors of the Gardners said in an interview that Adam Gardner told them “I stuck a propane torch in there and it went all the way up,” adding when asked why he did it that “my mom told me to,” according to the affidavit. Testing corroborated that the fire was started on the exterior by a propane torch.

The investigator in the August fire had recommended charges of first-degree arson against the Gardners, according to the affidavit. 

The Oct. 12 fire was reported by neighbors who saw smoke coming from the Gardners’ home, the affidavit stated, with one running with a fire extinguisher to the home. That neighbor reported he could see the fire coming from a hole in the ceiling which was “from the prior fires.” 

The neighbor said he saw the Gardners “running back and forth carrying items from the house to the U-Haul truck in the driveway.”

Both Gardners told authorities they did not know what had happened and didn’t see flames or smell smoke before the neighbor came in, according to the affidavit.

An investigator with the fire marshal’s office on-scene noticed a breaker that was supposed to be off was turned on, and noticed the October fire started “directly above” a hole in the ceiling opened by fire personnel during their response for the August fire. 

The lack of fire damage around a specific burned area led the investigator to conclude an ignition source was held up in an effort to start a fire.

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