Arson fire allegedly caused by ex-worker may result in layoffs

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Arson fire may result in employee layoffs
azfamily.com

PHOENIX - An arson fire causes millions of dollars in damage leaving a dozen Valley employees potentially without a job.

An arrest has been made and clean-up has begun but the blaze has left employees wondering what the future holds.

Thanks to investigators the people who work at Allfab say they know who started this fire but what they do not know is whether or not they will be left unemployed in this tough economy.

Sunday, the evening of the fire, the smoke could be seen for miles. Thursday the blaze is out but owners are still trying to figure out the true extent of the damage.

Ralph Arredondo one of the owners, says, "This piece of equipment here was about $485,000."

Richard Anderson, 41, was arrested for setting the fire. Detectives say he was caught on a nearby surveillance camera and also allegedly called 911 after igniting the fire.

Arredondo says Anderson worked at the company for more than four years and left work Friday like it was the start of another weekend. He has no idea what would have caused Anderson to snap. He says, "That is something everyone wants to know. What was going through his mind? Why did he do this to us? I don't have a clue."

Allfab Engineering makes numerous types of metal parts and employs around 16 people. They had insurance but they have no timetable on when that money will get here.

Now they may be forced to let a few people go. Arredondo admits, "I was devastated, you know, thinking about the people who work in this building. It's their livelihood too, you know? It's a tough economy and if worse comes to worse we could all be looking for jobs."

They are now trying to salvage what they can and rebuild. However they lost one thing in this fire that can never be replaced. Now buried behind the office is the family dog named Ol' Betty. The poor animal was trapped inside at the time of the arson fire. Her friend Bear is now left to guard the property himself.

Right now the company is continuing to use employees to clean up but that cannot last forever.

They are hoping things are back up and running as soon as possible but, again, they do not have a timetable for how long that will take.