Wheat Ridge man on disability loses car in possible arson incident

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (KDVR) — After six months of saving up for a GMC Envoy, Manuel Gonzalez watched his totaled car get towed away over the weekend.

“That was a handle to the door, that’s all that’s left,” Gonzalez told Fox31, holding up a charred handle.

Gonzalez’s newly purchased car went up in flames, right before his eyes.

He says he woke up early Saturday morning to loud noises, and discovered the fire on his security camera.

“I tried to go out and get a hose, and the car blew up.  It scared the crap out of me.  I grabbed the babies and we ran outside and called 911,” Gonzalez says, referring to his daughter and grandchild.

Another explosion was caught on surveillance, knocking a Wheat Ridge police officer to his feet.

“They were way high.  The windows were popping and blowing,” Gonzalez recalled, when asked about the size of the flames.

Surveillance does not reveal anyone tampering with the car, though Wheat Ridge PD has classified it as “suspicious” and is investigating this as arson.

They’re working with West Metro Fire who, as of Sunday, have not confirmed they’re listing this as an arson case.

“I hope it wasn’t pinpointed at me for whatever reason,” said Gonzalez.  “I don’t go anywhere.  I don’t make enemies.  I don’t go to bars.  That’s not my life.  I stay home all day, watching kids,” he added.

The fire also damaged Gonzalez’s boat, but he says he’s lucky it didn’t destroy his home or injure anyone.

“The flames were very close, very close.”

Gonzalez is on disability, and only had liability insurance on his car—telling Fox31 it will take a while to save for another one.

“It ain’t easy on $900 a month pal, to try and get a car.  I can’t work, my arthritis is so bad. I can’t even hardly walk.  So for me to go to work is out of the question.”

A GoFundMe has been set up for Gonzalez.

If you have any information about the fire, contact the Wheat Ridge Police Department, or West Metro Fire Rescue.